U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee
National Wildlife Refuge

Aerial photo of refuge interior tree islands during the wet season .
10216 Lee Road
Boynton Beach, FL   33437
E-mail: loxahatchee@fws.gov
Phone Number: 561-732-3684
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Aerial photo of refuge interior tree islands during the wet season .
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  Wildlife and Habitat

Continued . . .

Approximately 85% of habitats within the refuge are comprised of sloughs (pronounced 'slew'), wet prairies, sawgrass, and tree islands. These Everglades habitats are key wintering and migration areas for many species of bird. The cypress swamp is the fifth major plant community located on the eastern edge of the refuge. The wet prairies are characterized by short emergent plant life and relatively shallower water levels than in sloughs, which hold deeper water longer than other Everglades communities and are characterized by a scarcity of visible surface plants. The sawgrass community gets its name from the characteristic saw-edged sedge that dominates this type of habitat. Tree islands are formed on slightly higher elevation areas within the marsh and most often have wax myrtle, buttonbush, and coco-plum as its dominant vegetation. The cypress community is a moist microclimate making the conditions perfect for many different species of ferns and bromeliads in addition to the pond and bald cypress.

In any given year, as many as 257 species of birds may use the diverse wetland habitat of the refuge. Of those birds, approximately 93 species are considered to be common or abundant during certain seasons. For the Everglades snail kite, limpkin, smooth-billed ani, roseate spoonbill, wood stork, American swallowtail kite, short-tailed hawk, Florida sandhill crane, purple gallinule, black-necked stilt and the Arctic peregrine falcon, the refuge provides important habitat for both nesting and migration. A variety of duck species such as the ring-neck, mottled, fulvous-whistling, wood, and ruddy duck may be found on the refuge when water levels are appropriate and adequate habitat is available. Wading birds foraging on the refuge include the wood stork, little blue heron, tricolored heron, yellow-crowned night heron, and glossy ibis.

There are 23 species of mammals known to occur on the refuge. There are at least 11 species (exotic and native) of frogs and toads on the refuge. Approximately 10 species of turtles (exotic and native) use the refuge habitat. Alligators are considered umbrella or keystone species because of the important role they play in providing pockets of standing water during droughts and they are near the top of the food chain.

Approximately 40 species of butterflies can be found on the refuge during various times of the year. There are at least 46 species of temperate fresh water fish that occur regularly on the refuge.

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