Transportation and Natural Resources
Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Program
Species found in the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve
The Balcones Canyonlands Preserve was established to set aside and manage habitat and protect populations of two endangered songbirds and six endangered karst invertebrates as well as 27 additional species found in Travis County. In addition to these listed species, the BCP is managed for the benefit of all the native wildlife of the area, and is among the nation’s largest urban preserve systems.
The Golden Cheeked Warbler nests nowhere else in the world except in the
oak-juniper woodlands of Central Texas. This migratory songbird builds nests
of bark strips from mature Ashe juniper (locally called “cedar” or “mountain
cedar”) which it binds with spider webs that it collects in its beak.
These colorful native Texans spend their winters in Central America, and
can be found near Austin from early March through July and August. Loss of
habitat is the main threat to the survival of this species. Click here for
more information about management of the golden-cheeked
Click here to listen to the song of the golden-cheeked warbler.
The Black-capped Vireo is also a migratory songbird that builds its nest
in very specialized habitat just a few feet off the ground. Historical records
show that this bird once nested throughout Central Texas and as far as Oklahoma
and central Kansas. Today, central Texas provides habitat for the last viable
populations of this species. Habitat loss, cowbird parasitism, and predation
are the primary threats to this native songbird. Click here for more information
about managing populations of the black-capped
Click here to listen to the song of the black-capped vireo.
The Tooth Cave Pseudoscorpion is one of six endangered karst (or cave) dwelling invertebrates protected by the BCP. The Tooth Cave Pseudoscorpion resembles a tiny tailless scorpion. Reaching a size of about 4 millimeters (or about the size of a single grain of rice), this tiny eyeless predator catches small insects by seizing them with its pincers. It is threatened by loss of habitat, changes in hydrology, and by pollution.
Texabama Croton is a thicket-forming woody shrub usually found in canyon woodlands associated with live oak mottes. Populations of this unusual plant are monitored by Travis County BCP staff and checked for overall health, including damage due to insect and deer populations. Researchers are working to determine the relationship of the isolated Central Texas populations of this flowering shrub to the nearest populations found more than a thousand kilometers away in Alabama.
The Jollyville Salamander is a unique species that is not listed as endangered, but which benefits from the habitat protection provided by the preserve. Though little is known about these small salamanders, almost all specimens of these cave-associated amphibians have been found within the boundaries of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve.
The Bracted Twistflower is another Texas Hill Country species that is not listed as endangered, but which benefits from the habitat protection in the preserve. Habitat loss and grazing pressure by white-tailed deer are the primary threats to the remaining populations of this rare plant.
Click here for a list of the 35 species listed for protection in the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan.
For a more complete list of the plants and animals of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, click the links above for downloadable checklists. Be aware that these lists are many pages long, as there are lots of native plants and animals that benefit from the protection of the BCP!
For more information about the wildlife of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve,
please contact Travis County Staff.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 12:10 PM