Wildlife & Habitat


Yazoo NWR is the oldest national wildlife refuge in the State of Mississippi. This refuge was established in 1936 as one of the links in a chain of refuges that provide for the wintering needs of ducks and geese in the Mississippi Flyway. 

  • White-Tailed Deer

    White-tailed deer fawn

    The Yazoo Refuge has earned the reputation throughout the Southeast for producing quality white-tailed deer that are known for their large size and exceptional antler development. Dozens of record book deer have been recorded on the refuge over the years.

  • American Alligator


    The all-time-favorite animal for many visitors is the American alligator. A common resident of the refuge’s many sloughs, streams, lakes, and shallow ponds, alligators can often be seen on warm spring days basking on logs or banks, or floating motionless. Check out Holt Collier Horseshoe Pond, Alligator Pond, Lizard Lake, Deer Lake, and Alligator Alley for alligators.

  • Migratory Birds


    The refuge is noted for its numerous numbers of wintering ducks and geese. Yazoo NWR has over 50,000 overwintering geese and 100,000 ducks. Beginning in late fall and ending in early spring, Yazoo Refuge provides resting and feeding areas for such species as blue and green-winged teal, mallards, gadwalls, shovelers, Canada geese, and snow geese. From March through May, wood ducks are common and use the more than 500 artificial nest boxes provided for nesting.

    Other migratory birds take advantage of the refuge's diverse habitat. Neotropical songbirds such as painted and indigo buntings, prothonotary warblers, robins, marsh wren and Carolina chickadees are among the numerous species that can be observed during spring. Flocks of magnificent white pelicans also stop over on their spring and fall migrations.

    Yazoo Refuge is home to myriad wildlife species. Excellent rookery habitat provides resting and nesting sites for great blue and little blue herons, great and snowy egrets, white ibis and anhingas. Yazoo Refuge’s Swan Lake abounds with nesting herons and egrets; in fact, seventeen species of marsh and water birds nest on the refuge. Over 20 species of shorebirds found here include yellowlegs, black-necked stilts, dowitchers, plovers and various sandpipers.

  • Bottomland Hardwood Forest

    Bottomland Hardwood - Promo List - 150 x 118

    Through efforts by staff and partners, many converted agricultural lands have been reforested to native tree species. This is an effort to convert these lands back to bottomland hardwoods and decrease fragmentation which affect a variety of species negatively.

  • Swan Lake


    Swan Lake is an oxbow lake of the Mississippi River and is approximately 4,000 acres in size. This semi-permanent to permanent water provides the much needed foraging, loafing, and cover opportunities for waterfowl.