California Gnatcatcher
Dennis Ancinec
California Gnatcatcher
This small gray denizen of California's iconic coastal sage scrub habitat has a long black tail with white tips and a small black streak over the eye. During the spring and summer breeding season, adult males develop a full black cap.

On the Menu
The California Gnatcatcher's main food intake consists of arthropods, especially leafhoppers, spiders, beetles, and true bugs that are plentiful in the dry coastal regions of Southern California.



Home Sweet Home
The entire world's population of California Gnatcatcher occurs year-round in coastal southern California and Baja California, where the birds depend on a variety of arid scrub habitats.

How Am I Doing?
With the description of the California Gnatcatcher's preferred habitat type coinciding with the description for high-priced real estate (coastal, low-elevation, shallowly sloped or level lands), it is no wonder that habitat loss is the main threat facing the species. But even in the early 1900s, the population was described as being scarce and irregularly distributed. In the United States, loss of coastal sage scrub habitat has been estimated to be as much as 70-90 percent.

Help from Audubon
Audubon's Starr Ranch Sanctuary in Orange County and several Southern California Audubon chapters are employing various strategies to identify and protect key patches of coastal sage scrub habitat, which is vital to the California Gnatcatcher's survival.

Fun fact
Sounds a bit like a kitten, which distinguishes it from other gnatcatcher species.

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