On April 19, 2018, the California Fish and Game Commission voted 4-0 to list the tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) as a threatened species. A statewide survey conducted in 2017 estimated the California population of the species to be over 175,000 birds. The species is broadly distributed in California, occurring in roughly 40 counties, though the bulk of the population resides in the Central Valley.
The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned for the emergency listing of the species in 2015, based on a “dramatic decline” in population estimates from 2008 to 2011 and again from 2011 to 2014. The Department of Fish and Wildlife recommended listing as threatened in its 2018 12-month status review, despite the fact that the 2017 population estimate was 20 percent higher than the 2014 estimate.
It is unlawful to take species listed as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act without authorization from the Department of Fish and Wildlife.