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. One of the songbirds, the black-capped vireo, was removed from the federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in May 2018. Its delisting will not affect the preserve – the land will remain protected in perpetuity.

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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 Mexico and Central America and can be found near Austin from early March through 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 warbler.


The black-capped vireo is 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. 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 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.

croton texabama

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 Plateau salamander is a unique species that is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act as of September 2013. This species is not listed on the BCCP permit, but nevertheless benefits from the habitat protection provided by the preserve. Ideal habitats for the Jollyville Plateau salamander are springs, spring-fed streams, and caves with flowing water. This species is restricted to a very narrow geographic range in and around northwest Austin and several populations have been found within the boundaries of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve.

twisted brach

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 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 us.

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Contact Us

PO Box 1748
700 Lavaca street, Suite 540
Austin, Texas 78767
Phone: (512) 854-9437

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