A Species of Special Concern (SSC) is a species, subspecies, or distinct population of an animal* native to California that currently satisfies one or more of the following (not necessarily mutually exclusive) criteria**:

  • is extirpated from the State or, in the case of birds, is extirpated in its primary season or breeding role;
  • is listed as Federally-, but not State-, threatened or endangered; meets the State definition of threatened or endangered but has not formally been listed;
  • is experiencing, or formerly experienced, serious (noncyclical) population declines or range retractions (not reversed) that, if continued or resumed, could qualify it for State threatened or endangered status;
  • has naturally small populations exhibiting high susceptibility to risk from any factor(s), that if realized, could lead to declines that would qualify it for State threatened or endangered status.

*for the purposes of this discussion, “animal” means fish, amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal

**criteria for fishes are similar except that Federally listed taxa are not defined as SSCs

The species lists below include the wildlife that is designated as Special Status Species in California. Species with multiple designations are listed more than once, and will appear in each category that is suitable. However, species with multiple designations will have a “-” after the latin name and a series of letters that describes all of the designations. The “key” is as follows:

FE = Federal Endangered          FT = Federal Threatened

SE = State Endangered              ST = State Threatened


There are a total of 58 fishes in California that are Special Status Species.

  • Northern California brook lamprey (Entosphenus folletti)
  • Kern brook lamprey (Entosphenus hubbsi)
  • Pit-Klamath brook lamprey (Entosphenus lethophagus)
  • Klamath River lamprey (Entosphenus similis)
  • Pacific lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus)
  • Goose Lake lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus ssp. 1 )
  • River lamprey (Lampetra ayresii)
  • Green sturgeon – southern DPS (Acipenser medirostris) – FT, SSC
  • White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus)
  • Coast cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii)
  • California golden trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita)
  • Eagle Lake rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aquilarum)
  • Kern River rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss gilberti)
  • Steelhead – Klamath Mountains Province DPS (Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus)
  • Summer-run steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus)
  • Goose Lake redband trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss ssp. 1)
  • McCloud River redband trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss ssp. 2)
  • Chinook salmon – upper Klamath and Trinity Rivers ESU (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)
  • Chinook salmon – Central Valley fall / late fall-run ESU (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)
  • Mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni)
  • Blue chub (Gila coerulea)
  • Arroyo chub (Gila orcuttii)
  • Sacramento hitch (Lavinia exilicauda exilicauda)
  • Pajaro/Salinas hitch (Lavinia exilicauda harengus)
  • Pit roach (Lavinia symmetricus mitrulus)
  • Navarro roach (Lavinia symmetricus navarroensis)
  • Gualala roach (Lavinia symmetricus parvipinnis)
  • San Joaquin roach (Lavinia symmetricus ssp. 1)
  • Tomales roach (Lavinia symmetricus ssp. 2)
  • Red Hills roach (Lavinia symmetricus ssp. 3)
  • Clear Lake – Russian River roach (Lavinia symmetricus ssp. 4)
  • Monterey roach (Lavinia symmetricus subditus)
  • Hardhead (Mylopharodon conocephalus)
  • Sacramento splittail (Pogonichthys macrolepidotus)
  • Amargosa Canyon speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculus ssp. 1)
  • Owens speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculus ssp. 2)
  • Santa Ana speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculus ssp. 3)
  • Long Valley speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculus ssp. 5)
  • Lahontan Lake tui chub (Siphateles bicolor pectinifer)
  • Eagle Lake tui chub (Siphateles bicolor ssp. 1)
  • Goose Lake tui chub (Siphateles bicolor thalassina)
  • Cow Head tui chub (Siphateles bicolor vaccaceps)
  • Owens sucker (Catostomus fumeiventris)
  • Goose Lake sucker (Catostomus occidentalis lacusanserinus)
  • Mountain sucker (Catostomus platyrhynchus)
  • Klamath largescale sucker (Catostomus snyderi)
  • Amargosa pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis amargosae)
  • Saratoga Springs pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis nevadensis)
  • Shoshone pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis shoshone)
  • Salt Creek pupfish (Cyprinodon salinus salinus)
  • Sacramento perch – within native range only (Archoplites interruptus)
  • Clear Lake tule perch (Hysterocarpus traski lagunae)
  • Russian River tule perch (Hysterocarpus traski pomo)
  • Tidewater goby (Eucyclogobius newberryi) – FE, SSC
  • Riffle sculpin (Cottus gulosus)
  • Upper Klamath marbled sculpin (Cottus klamathensis klamathensis)
  • Bigeye marbled sculpin (Cottus klamathensis macrops)
  • Lower Klamath marbled sculpin (Cottus klamathensis polyporus)


There are 21 amphibians in California that are Species of Special Concern (4 of them are also federally listed species).

  • Southern long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum sigillatum)
  • California giant salamander (Dicamptodon ensatus)
  • Southern torrent salamander (Rhyacotriton variegatus)
  • Red-bellied newt (Taricha rivularis)
  • Coast Range newt (Taricha torosa)  [Monterey Co. & south only]
  • Santa Cruz black salamander (Aneides niger)
  • Inyo Mountains slender salamander (Batrachoseps campi)
  • Lesser slender salamander (Batrachoseps minor)
  • Relictual slender salamander (Batrachoseps relictus)
  • Couch’s spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii)
  • Western spadefoot (Spea hammondii)
  • Arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus) – FE, SSC
  • Yosemite toad (Anaxyrus canorus) – FT, SSC
  • Sonoran desert toad (Incilius alvarius)
  • Northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) [Native populations only]
  • Lowland leopard frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis)
  • Northern red-legged frog (Rana aurora)
  • Foothill yellow-legged frog (Rana boylii)
  • Cascades frog (Rana cascadae)
  • California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) – FT, SSC
  • Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) – FT, SSC


A total of 23 reptiles in California are Species of Special Concern.

  • Sonoran mud turtle (Kinosternon sonoriense)
  • Western pond turtle (Emys marmorata)
  • San Diego banded gecko (Coleonyx variegatus abbotti)
  • Cope’s leopard lizard (Gambelia copeii)
  • Coast horned lizard (Phrynosoma blainvillii)
  • Flat-tailed horned lizard (Phrynosoma mcallii)
  • Colorado Desert fringe-toed lizard (Uma notata)
  • Mojave fringe-toed lizard (Uma scoparia)
  • Sandstone night lizard (Xantusia gracilis)
  • Sierra night lizard (Xantusia sierrae)
  • Coastal whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris stejnegeri)
  • Panamint alligator lizard (Elgaria panamintina)
  • Black legless lizard (Anniella pulchra nigra)
  • Silvery legless lizard (Anniella pulchra pulchra)
  • Banded Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum cinctum)
  • California glossy snake (Arizona elegans occidentalis)
  • Baja California coachwhip (Coluber fuliginosus)
  • Regal ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus regalis)
  • San Joaquin coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum ruddocki)
  • Coast patch-nosed snake (Salvadora hexalepis virgultea)
  • Two-striped gartersnake (Thamnophis hammondii)
  • South coast gartersnake [coastal plain from Ventura Co. to San Diego Co. from sea level to about 850m] (Thamnophis sirtalis ssp)
  • Red-diamond rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber)


There are 71 birds in California that are Species of Special Concern. Of those birds, 5 are also federal listed species.

Ducks, Geese, and Swans (Anatidae)
  • Tule greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons elgasi) – wintering
  • Redhead (Aythya americana) – nesting
  • Brant (Branta bernicla) – wintering and staging
  • Barrow’s goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) – nesting
  • Fulvous whistling-duck (Dendrocygna bicolor) – nesting
  • Harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) – nesting
Grouse and Ptarmigans (Phasianidae)
  • Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) – nesting and leks
  • Mount Pinos sooty grouse (Dendragapus fuliginosus howardi)
  • Columbian sharp-tailed grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus columbianus)
Partridge and Quail (Odontophoridae)
  • Catalina California quail (Callipepla californica catalinensis)
Loons (Gaviidae)
  • Common loon (Gavia immer) – nesting
Albatross (Diomedeidae)
  • Short-tailed albatross (Phoebastria albatrus) – FE, SSC
Storm Petrels (Hydrobatidae)
  • Fork-tailed storm-petrel (Oceanodroma furcata) – nesting colony
  • Ashy storm-petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa) – nesting colony
  • Black storm-petrel (Oceanodroma melania) – nesting colony
Pelicans (Pelecaniidae)
  • American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) – nesting colony
Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns (Ardeidae)
  • Least bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) – nesting
Storks (Ciconiidae)
  • Wood stork (Mycteria americana)
Hawks, Kites, Harriers, and Eagles (Accipitridae)
  • Northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) – nesting
  • Northern harrier (Circus cyaneus) – nesting
Rails, Coots, and Gallinules (Rallidae)
  • Yellow rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis)
Cranes (Gruidae)
  • Lesser sandhill crane (Grus canadensis canadensis) – wintering
Plovers and Relatives (Charadriidae)
  • Western snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus) – FT, SSC, nesting
  • Mountain plover (Charadrius montanus) – wintering
Gulls and Terns (Laridae)
  • Black tern (Chlidonias niger) – nesting colony
  • Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica) – nesting colony
  • Black skimmer (Rynchops niger) – nesting colony
Auklets, Puffins, and Relatives (Alcidae)
  • Tufted puffin (Fratercula cirrhata) – nesting colony
  • Cassin’s auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) – nesting colony
Owls (Strigidae)
  • Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) – nesting
  • Long-eared owl (Asio otus) – nesting
  • Burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) – burrow sites and some wintering sites
  • California spotted owl (Strix occidentalis occidentalis)
Swifts (Apodidae)
  • Vaux’s swift (Chaetura vauxi) – nesting
  • Black swift (Cypseloides niger) – nesting
Tyrant Flycatchers (Tyrannidae)
  • Olive-sided flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) – nesting
  • Vermillion flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) – nesting
Shrikes (Laniidae)
  • Loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) – nesting
  • Island loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus anthonyi)
  • San Clemente loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus mearnsi) – FE, SSC
Vireos (Vireonidae)
  • Catalina Hutton’s vireo (Vireo huttoni unitti)
  • Gray vireo (Vireo vicinior) – nesting
Swallows (Hirundinidae)
  • Purple martin (Progne subis) – nesting
Wrens (Troglodytidae)
  • Coastal cactus wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus sandiegensis) – San Diego and Orange Counties only
  • Clark’s marsh wren (Cistothorus palustris clarkae)
  • San Clemente Bewick’s wren (Thryomanes bewickii leucophrys)
Gnatcatchers (Polioptilidae)
  • Coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) – FT, SSC
Mockingbirds and Thrashers (Mimidae)
  • Bendire’s thrasher (Toxostoma bendirei)
  • Crissal thrasher (Toxostoma crissale)
  • Le Conte’s thrasher (Toxostoma lecontei)
Wood-Warblers (Parulidae)
  • Saltmarsh common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas sinuosa)
  • Yellow-breasted chat (Icteria virens) – nesting
  • Lucy’s warbler (Oreothlypis luciae) – nesting
  • Yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia) – nesting
  • Sonoran yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia sonorana) – nesting
Sparrows, Buntings, Warblers, and Relatives (Emberizidae)
  • Santa Cruz Island rufous-crowned sparrow (Aimophila ruficeps obscura)
  • Grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) – nesting
  • San Clemente sage sparrow (Artemisiospiza belli clementeae) – FT, SSC
  • Song sparrow [“Modesto” population] (Melospiza melodia)
  • Channel Island song sparrow (Melospiza melodia graminea)
  • Suisun song sparrow (Melospiza melodia maxillaris)
  • Alameda song sparrow (Melospiza melodia pusillula)
  • San Pable song sparrow (Melospiza melodia samuelis)
  • Bryant’s savannah sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis alaudinus)
  • Large-billed savannah sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis rostratus) – wintering
  • San Clemente spotted towhee (Pipilo maculatus clementae)
  • Summer tanager (Piranga rubra) – nesting
  • Oregon vesper sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus affinis) – wintering
Blackbirds (Icteridae)
  • Kern red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus aciculatus)
  • Tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) – SC, SSC, nesting colony
  • Yellow-headed blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) – nesting


There are 67 mammals that are Special Status Species in California. A total of 5 of those species are also federally listed species.

Insectivores (Insectivora)
  • Alameda Island mole (Scapanus latimanus parvus)
  • Mount Lyell shrew (Sorex lyelli)
  • Buena Vista Lake ornate shrew (Sorex ornatus relictus) – FE, SSC
  • Monterey shrew (Sorex ornatus salarius)
  • Southern California saltmarsh shrew (Sorex ornatus salicornicus)
  • Suisun shrew (Sorex ornatus sinuosus)
  • Santa Catalina shrew (Sorex ornatus willetti)
  • Salt-marsh wandering shrew (Sorex vagrans halicoetes)
Bats (Chiroptera)
  • Mexican long-tongued bat (Choeronycteris mexicana)
  • California leaf-nosed bat (Choeronycteris mexicana)
  • Pallid bat (Antrozous pallidus)
  • Townsend’s big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii)
  • Spotted bat (Euderma maculatum)
  • Western red bat (Lasiurus blossevillii)
  • Western yellow bat (Lasiurus xanthinus)
  • Arizona myotis (Myotis occultus)
  • Cave myotis (Myotis velifer)
  • Western mastiff bat (Eumops perotis californicus)
  • Pocketed free-tailed bat (Nyctinomops femorosaccus)
  • Big free-tailed bat (Nyctinomops macrotis)
Rabbits, Hares and Pika (Lagomorpha)
  • Pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis)
  • Oregon snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus klamathensis)
  • Sierra Nevada snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus tahoensis)
  • San Diego black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus bennettii)
  • Western white-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii townsendii)
Rodents (Rodentia)
  • Sierra Nevada mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa californica)
  • Point Arena mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa nigra) – FE, SSC
  • Point Reyes mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa phaea)
  • San Bernardino flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus californicus)
  • Palm Springs round-tailed ground squirrel (Xerospermophilus tereticaudus chlorus)
  • Dulzura pocket mouse (Chaetodipus californicus femoralis)
  • Northwestern San Diego pocket mouse (Chaetodipus fallax fallax)
  • Pallid San Diego pocket mouse (Chaetodipus fallax pallidus)
  • Marysville Californiakangaroo rat (Dipodomys californicus eximius)
  • San Bernardino kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami parvus) – FE, SSC
  • Short-nosed kangaroo rat (Dipodomys nitratoides brevinasus)
  • Big-eared kangaroo rat (Dipodomys venustus elephantinus)
  • White-eared pocket mouse (Perognathus alticolus alticolus)
  • Tehachapi pocket mouse (Perognathus alticolus inexpectatus)
  • Salinas pocket mouse (Perognathus inornatus psammophilus)
  • Palm Springs pocket mouse (Perognathus longimembris bangsi)
  • Los Angeles pocket mouse (Perognathus longimembris brevinasus)
  • Jacumba pocket mouse (Perognathus longimembris internationalis)
  • Pacific pocket mouse (Perognathus longimembris pacificus) – FE, SSC
  • White-footed vole (Arborimus albipes)
  • Sonoma tree vole (Arborimus pomo)
  • Mohave river vole (Microtus californicus mohavensis)
  • San Pablo vole (Microtus californicus sanpabloensis)
  • South coast marsh vole (Microtus californicus stephensi)
  • Owens Valley vole (Microtus californicus vallicola)
  • San Francisco dusky-footed woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes annectens)
  • Riparian woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes riparia) – FE, SSC
  • San Diego desert woodrat (Neotoma lepida intermedia)
  • Monterey dusky-footed woodrat (Neotoma macrotis luciana)
  • Southern grasshopper mouse (Onychomys torridus ramona)
  • Tulare grasshopper mouse (Onychomys torridus tularensis)
  • Anacapa Island deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus anacapae)
  • San Clemente deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus clementis)
  • Colorado River cotton rat (Sigmodon arizonae plenus)
  • Yuma hispid cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus eremicus)
  • Point Reyes jumping mouse (Zapus trinotatus orarius)
Carnivores (Carnivora)
  • Southwestern river otter (Lontra canadensis sonora)
  • Humboldt Marten (Martes caurina humboldtensis) – SC, SSC
  • Fisher – west coast DPS (Pekania pennanti) – SC, SSC proposed federal threatened
  • American badger (Taxidea taxus)
  • Channel Islands spotted skunk (Spilogale gracilis amphiala)
  • Yuma mountain lion (Puma concolor browni)