Sensitive Species

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Yellow billed cuckoos are slim birds with long tails. They have grayish-brown backs and their underparts are white. Their tails are striped with black and white colors and their bills are mostly yellow (true to their name) and curved downward. To hear a yellow billed cuckoo call, click here 

yellow-billed cuckoo in a tree, courtesy Wikipedia


Habitat: Yellow billed cuckoos must live near water, in what are called riparian habitats. This means that they thrive in areas near streams, rivers, or other water bodies. In Idaho, these birds are dependent upon riparian areas dominated by cottonwood trees. These areas tend to have high humidity levels, which the cuckoos prefer for laying their eggs. In Idaho, the yellow-billed cuckoo is a rare visitor and local breeder that occurs in scattered drainages primarily in the southern portion of the state


Food: Yellow-billed cuckoos primarily eat large insects such as caterpillars, katydids, cicadas, grasshoppers, and crickets. Occasionally, they eat bird eggs and young, snails, frogs, and lizards. They also will consume small fruits and seeds, but more frequently in fall and on their wintering grounds. Parents feed their young regurgitated insects.

Facts: Loss and degradation of breeding habitat are believed to have caused declines in the distribution and abundance of the these birds. Major declines have been documented throughout this species’ range in the western U.S., so much that they are now extremely rare in most areas. Available breeding habitat also has been substantially reduced in area and quality by activities that have lowered the water table (e.g., water diversion, ground water pumping) and the replacement of native riparian vegetation with invasive non-native plants. Disturbances imposed by humans, such as vegetation removal, grazing, and flooding, have facilitated the invasion of non-native plants. Land management agencies are currently working to protect yellow billed cuckoo habitats throughout southern Idaho. 


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Herbivore Mammals

Pygmy rabbit 
Desert cottontail 
Eastern gray squirrel 
Red squirrel 
Deer mouse
Kangaroo rat 
Meadow vole 
Mule deer 
Bighorn sheep 
American pronghorn 

Carnivore Mammals

American badger 
River otter 
Red fox 
Long-tailed weasel 
Grizzly bear 
Mountain lion   



  Long-toed salamander 
  Idaho giant salamander  
  Coeur d'Alene salamander

 Frogs and Toads  

  American bullfrog 
  Columbia spotted frog 
  Western toad 
  Northern leopard frog 
  Pacific tree frog 
  Great Basin spadefoot 



Painted turtle 
Northern alligator lizard 
Mohave black-collared lizard 
Short-horned lizard 
Desert horned lizard 
Sagebrush lizard 
Western fence lizard 
Western skink 
Side-blotched lizard 
Longnosed leopard lizard 
Western whiptail 



Western pipistrelle 
Western small-footed myotis 
Little brown bat 
Yuma myotis 
Townsend's big-eared bat 
Hoary bat 
Silver-haired bat 
Fringed myotis 
Pallid bat

Sensitive Species (not a complete list) 

Greater sage-grouse 
Pygmy rabbit 
No. Idaho ground squirrel 
So. Idaho ground squirrel
Canada lynx 
Grizzly bear 
Selkirk Mtns. woodland caribou 
Kootenai White River sturgeon 
Bull trout 
Sockeye salmon 
Chinook salmon 
Steelhead trout 
Yellow-billed cuckoo