Skip booklet index and go to page content

Species at Risk - A guide to Canada's species at risk in the Prairie Provinces – March 2014

PDF version - 7.14 MB

Cover photo of Species at Risk - A guide to Canada's species at risk in the Prairie Provinces – March 2014
Cover photos: © Nick Saunders, © Candace Neufeld, © Mike Reese.
Artist: Mike Gerencser © Environment Canada

The contents of this booklet pertain to terrestrial species at risk in the Prairie ecozone.

The new federal Species at Risk Act

A young girl in pigtails is kneeling down in the tall grass, smelling a light coloured flower.
Photo: © Gene Fortney

Farmers, ranchers, Aboriginal groups, scientists, and people with an interest in nature have observed the disappearance of plants and animals for decades.

The federal Species at Risk Act, in full effect since June 1, 2004, is designed to work cooperatively with landowners and provincial governments to protect species at risk and their habitats. Under the Species at Risk Act, species that are threatened, endangered and extirpated (extinct in Canada but exist elsewhere), and their residences (e.g. nest or den) and critical habitats receive protection.

The purpose of the Species at Risk Act is:

  • to prevent wildlife species from becoming extinct or extirpated
  • to help recover extirpated, endangered and threatened species
  • to ensure that species of special concern do not become endangered or threatened.

For more information about the Act, visit: Species at Risk Public Registry.

Stewardship and Incentive Programs

Taking voluntary action as a landowner to protect species at risk on your land is imperative to their survival in Canada.

The Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk (HSP) provides funding for projects that conserve and protect species at risk and their habitats. Over the past 13 years, the HSP has supported over 2,100 projects across Canada, contributing over $125 million towards on-theground conservation action by partners and stakeholders. The HSP continues to be available to assist individuals and groups seeking to implement actions for the conservation and protection of this species.

Across the Prairies, numerous organizations have received HSP funding to develop programs and initiatives geared towards educating and enabling landowners to manage species at risk on their land.

In Saskatchewan, landowners have been provided funding for watering systems and fencing to benefit both species at risk and cattle. Alberta based outreach programs have enhanced the protection of the burrowing owl and loggerhead shrike on private land. Manitoba agricultural and livestock producers have benefited from the implementation of twice-over rotational grazing on their native pastures.

Two men are standing talking in a pasture
Photo: G. C. Trottier © Environment Canada, 2014
Long description for photo

Two men are standing talking in a pasture, with grassy hills in the background.

Top of Page

Categories of species at risk

Species at risk are listed in one of five categories:

Extinct:
A wildlife species that no longer exists.
Extirpated:
A wildlife species that no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but exists elsewhere.
Endangered:
A wildlife species that is facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
Threatened:
A wildlife species likely to become an endangered species if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction.
Special Concern:
A wildlife species that may become a threatened or an endangered species because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.

This guide includes threatened and endangered species found in the Prairie provinces. The Species at Risk Act also provides protection for extirpated species including: the greater prairie chicken and the Prairie population of grizzly bear. There are numerous species of special concern found in the Prairies. Management plans are prepared to conserve these species and if they become threatened or endangered they would also be protected by the Act. For the complete list of species, visit: Species at Risk Public Registry.

How to use this guide

The purpose of this guide is to help you identify the endangered and threatened species on the Prairies listed in the federal Species at Risk Act. This publication will be updated periodically when new endangered or threatened species are designated. For an official current list of species visit: Species at Risk Public Registry.

The range maps show the distribution of each species throughout the Prairie provinces so you can determine at a glance if they may occur in your area.

Some species may also occur in other parts of Canada or in the U.S. but this publication only depicts their range within the Prairie provinces.

A map of the three prairie provinces
Map
Long description for map

This is map of the three prairie provinces showing water bodies/features, main highways and the cities of Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg. A map similar to this will be used to show the distribution of each species throughout the Prairie provinces in this booklet. The map legend, to the right of the provinces, shows the brown colour that will represent the species distribution in the species specific maps on the following pages.

Top of Page

Return to Table of Contents

Mammals

Ord's Kangaroo Rat

Dipodomys ordii

Photo of Ord's Kangaroo Rat
Photo: © David Gummer, Courtesy of the Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, Alberta
Long description for Ord's Kangaroo Rat photo

This is a photo of Ord’s Kangaroo Rat. It is a small, light coloured rodent with a white belly, long tail and large hind feet, sitting with its front feet up. It is sitting on sand and is surrounded by few plants.

Length including tail:
260 mm (10.2 inches)
Body weight:
69 g (2.4 ounces)

Endangered

Ord’s kangaroo rats are small nocturnal rodents with large hind legs and feet and long tufted tails. They are well adapted to desert environments, spending most of the day in underground burrows and foraging for seeds at night. These rodents depend on open and sparsely vegetated habitats such as active sand dunes and sandy hills that occur in southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan.

Did you know?

  • Its common name comes from its kangaroo-like hind legs and hopping style of locomotion; they are able to jump as far as 2 m in a single leap.
  • Kangaroo rats use shallow hibernation to conserve energy during the harsh Canadian winter, but most don’t survive until the spring.
Ord's Kangaroo Rat map
Ord's Kangaroo Rat map
Long description for Ord's Kangaroo Rat map

This image is a map of the distribution of Ord’s Kangaroo Rat in south eastern Alberta and south western Saskatchewan. The map indicates they are found in the eastern portion of Canadian Forces Base Suffield, extending north to the South Saskatchewan River, in Alberta. In Saskatchewan they are in the Great Sandhills, located west of Swift Current,  in the south west SK.

Top of Page


Swift Fox

Vulpes velox

Photo of Swift Fox
Photo: © Lu Carbyn
Long description for Swift Fox photo

This is a photo of a Swift Fox in a grassy field. The slender swift fox is standing alert with its large pointed ears and bushy tail. The fur of the fox has many colours; along the top of the head and back the fur is darkest with grey flecked with white, on the sides of the face, belly and legs the fur is a lighter orange colour. The lightest fur is white and runs along the chin, chest and inner portions of the legs. The face has a very distinctive dark black teardrop that goes from the inner corner of each eye down the side of the nose. The tail also has a distinctive dark black tip.

Height at shoulder:
30-32 cm (12-13 inches).
Length (including tail):
77-80 cm (30-32 inches)

Threatened

Swift foxes are about the same size as jack rabbits or large house cats. Their small size and black-tipped tail distinguish them from red foxes. Their dens are usually on hills near water bodies, and they roam in the open prairie in search of grasshoppers, small mammals and dead animals.

Did you know?

  • Named for their remarkable speed, this slender member of the canine family can run faster than 60 km/hr.
  • Once completely extirpated from Canada, the swift fox is making a come-back thanks to a successful re-introduction program and on-going support from landowners.
Swift Fox map
Swift Fox map
Long description for Swift Fox map

This image is a map of the distribution of Swift Fox in south eastern Alberta and south western Saskatchewan. It shows the distribution is continuous in the grasslands between Milk River, Alberta and approximately Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, extending from the US border north nearly to Maple Creek.

Top of Page


Western Harvest Mouse

Riethrodontomys megalotis dychei

Photo of Western Harvest Mouse
Photo: © Robin Bloom
Long description for Western Harvest Mouse photo

This is a photo of a Western Harvest Mouse, showing mostly its face. It is perched amongst the green leaves of a bush, sitting in the stippled shade. The mouse has large ears and big dark eyes. It is light brown in colour with a white underbelly.

Length:
136 mm (half of which is tail)
Weight:
11 g

Endangered

The Western harvest mouse is one of the smallest mammals inhabiting the Prairies. It is a long-tailed brownish mouse with a light underbelly and white feet. It is similar in appearance to juvenile deer mice, but deer mice are greyer in colour. Western harvest mice are omnivorous, nocturnal, and can be found in shrub-steppe habitats that contain extensive cover. They make nests at the base of shrubs by weaving together grasses to create shelter for themselves.

Did you know?

  • Its common name comes from its habit of “harvesting” grasses and leaving them in piles along vole runs.
  • Prior to 1994, this subspecies had only been documented three times in Canada.
Western Harvest Mouse map
Western Harvest Mouse map
Long description for Western Harvest Mouse map

This is a map of the distribution of the Western Harvest Mouse. It is only found in the eastern portion of the Canadian Forces Base Suffield, Alberta.

Top of Page

Return to Table of Contents

Birds

Burrowing Owl

Athene cunicularia

Photo of Burrowing Owl
Photo: © Environment Canada, Geoff Holroyd
Long description for Burrowing Owl photo

This is a photo of a Burrowing Owl standing behind a brown mound in a green field. It is a small bird, dark brown on its upper side with large flecks of lighter cream. Its breast and belly are lighter in colour with similar flecks. It has large, round yellow eyes, and a short stubby tail.

Length:
23 - 28 cm (9-11 inches)

Endangered

Larger than a robin and smaller than a pigeon, the long-legged burrowing owls are named for their curious habit of nesting in abandoned gopher (ground squirrel) or badger burrows, on grazed grasslands.

Did you know?

  • They can co-exist with cattle – they even line their nests with cow dung!
  • A female burrowing owl that nested in Arizona flew 1,860 km to Saskatchewan, where she then raised seven young – all within one summer! This is the longest breeding dispersal event within a single breeding season ever recorded for any raptor.
Burrowing Owl map
Burrowing Owl map
Long description for Burrowing Owl map

This is a distribution map of the Burrowing Owl in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Burrowing Owl is found in a continuous area starting south of Lethbridge, Alberta, extending north to about 100 km east of Calgary, east over to Outlook, Saskatchewan, down to Regina then southeast to Estevan.

Top of Page


Chestnut-Collared Longspur

Calcarius ornatus

Photo of Chestnut-Collared Longspur
Photo: © Nick Saunders
Long description for Chestnut-Collared Longspur photo

This is a photo of a singing male Chestnut-Collared Longspur, perched on a brown bolder, against a green background. He has a black crown and breast, yellow-buff cheeks and white upper throat, and a deep chestnut (rufous) collar or hind-neck. His wing and side are various shades of brown.

Length:
13–16.5 cm (5 - 6.5 inches)

Threatened

A small, sparrow-sized songbird found in native pastures from southwestern Manitoba to southeastern Alberta. Males, commonly heard singing flying in fanciful aerial display, often reach heights of 15 m descending to rocky terrain, fences and isolated shrubs.

Did you know?

  • The nest, constructed by the female, is commonly situated beside a clump of grass, rose, sage or snowberry bush, or a cow pie.
  • The longspur is often found on square or rectangular parcels of native mixed-grass pastures, 32 ha or larger, in flatter areas devoid of woody vegetation, with sparse residual vegetation, and areas of shorter grass and bare areas.
Chestnut–Collared Longspur map
Chestnut –Collared Longspur map
Long description for Chestnut–Collared Longspur map

This is a map of the distribution of Chestnut-Collared Longspur in the three Prairie Provinces. The bird is found throughout the southern prairies, from around Brandon, Manitoba west to Regina, Saskatchewan and up and across to Calgary, Alberta.

Top of Page


Common Nighthawk

Chordeiles minor

Photo of Common Nighthawk
Photo: © Nick Saunders
Long description for Common Nighthawk photo

This is a photo of a Common Nighthawk sitting on a thick dead tree branch against a green background. The head is large and flattened, the eyes are large, and the bill is small.  The plumage is dark brown with black, white, and buff specks.

Length:
41 - 51 cm (16 - 20 inches)

Threatened

The common nighthawk is a medium sized bird, dark brown plumage mottled with black, white and buff, often recognized in flight with a white patch across the outer edge of its wing. They are often seen at sunset, flying over areas such as sand dunes, beaches, logged areas/forest clearings, burned areas, rocky barrens, prairies, peatbogs and pastures.

Did you know?

  • Generally, two eggs are laid directly on the ground from the 3rd week of May to mid-August.
  • Incubation is carried out by the female and lasts 16-20 days, depending on the region. Nestlings become fully developed between 45 and 52 days.
  • Once relatively common in cities where they nested on flat, gravel-covered rooftops, common nighthawk populations have declined in the past few decades because of reductions in flying insects, which they rely on for food.
Common Nighthawk map
Common Nighthawk map
Long description for Common Nighthawk map

This is the distribution map of the Common Nighthawk in the prairie provinces. It is found in all but a tiny portion of northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, and northern 20% of Manitoba.

Top of Page


Eastern Whip-poor-will

Antrostomus vociferous

Photo of Eastern-Whip-poor-will
Photo: © Kevin T. Karlson
Long description for Eastern Whip-poor-will photo

This image is of an adult Eastern-Whip-poor-will asleep on a tree branch against a greenish background. Its plumage is grey and brown with light speckles, which serves to blend individuals with elements of the forest ground where they nest. It has a large and flattened head with a small bill and big gape, bordered by long sensory bristles.

Length:
22-26 cm (8.6 - 10.2 inches)

Threatened

Eastern whip-poor-wills are medium-sized, insect-eating birds that are active from dusk until dawn. They have a large, flattened head, large eyes, and their cryptic grey and brown plumage acts as camouflage during the day while they roost in leaf litter on the ground. They live in semi-open forests or patchy forests with clearings.

Did you know?

  • With a small bill and a large mouth ringed with long, fine feathers that serve as sensory bristles, this species is adapted to capturing flying insects while in flight.
  • Like other aerial insectivores, this species has recently experienced rapid population declines, possibly caused by habitat loss or by declines in their insect food supply which may be caused by pesticides or climate change.
Eastern-Whip-poor-will map
Eastern-Whip-poor-will map
Long description for Eastern-Whip-poor-will map

This is the distribution map of Eastern-Whip-poor-will in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It is found in the forests north of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, within approximately a 200 km wide band that sweeps downward and east to the interlake region of Manitoba, and then  down to the south east corner of Manitoba.

Top of Page


Ferruginous Hawk

Buteo regalis

Photo of Ferruginous Hawk
Photo: © Nick Saunders
Long description for Ferruginous Hawk photo

An image of a flying hawk with wings in a downward swoop.  The hawk has a dark back and upper wing surface and a white tail, breast and wing undersurface.

Length:
56 - 69 cm (22-7 inches)

Threatened

The ferruginous hawk has broad, long wings with rounded tips and a fan-shaped tail. Their name is derived from the Latin term for iron, ferrum, due to their rust coloured plumage. They have a characterisitc "V" on their underside which is formed by their dark reddish legs when flying. Ferruginous hawks are strongly dependant on native grassland habitats. They require a raised area, surrounded by Prairies for nesting so they can chase its preferred prey, the Richardson's ground squirrel.

Did you know?

  • Before settlement, ground nesting prevailed and nests were partially constructed of bison bones and wool.
  • There are two color versions of the ferruginous hawk. The pale type (described above), or the less commonly seen dark variety with its signature dark brown plumage with either a white or grey tail.
Ferruginous Hawk map
Ferruginous Hawk map
Long description for Ferruginous Hawk map

This is the distribution map of the Ferruginous Hawk in the three prairie provinces. They are found in a small area in the extreme south west of Manitoba, in southern Saskatchewan nearly reaching Saskatoon, and in the south east corner of Alberta, reaching just past Lethbridge.

Top of Page


Greater Sage-Grouse

Centrocercus urophasianus urophasianus

Photo of Greater Sage-Grouse
Photo: © Parks Canada, W. Lynch
Long description for Greater Sage-Grouse photo

A photograph of a male and female Greater Sage-Grouse in native grassland. The Sage-Grouse is a large, round-winged, ground-dwelling grouse.  The male is standing on the left, in profile, with his dark tail-feathers raised in a fan-like display, his brown wing drooped and the white feathers around his neck raised. Males have an arched yellow comb above the eye, a black throat, a large white patch on the breast and long feathers behind the head at the back of the neck. The female to the right has her head low, and has finely marked dark brown, black, buff sides and back, and dull white upper parts.Her long tail feathers taper to an acute point.

Length of males:
65 - 75 cm (25-30 inches)
Length of females:
56-58 cm (22-23 inches)

Endangered

Greater Sage-Grouse, the largest grouse in Canada, are found on the southernmost Prairies where sagebrush grows. Their long pointed tail and black belly differentiate them from other grouse. Their numbers have drastically declined because of habitat loss and degradation, disturbance, weather conditions, predation and disease.

Did you know?

  • In the spring, males strut a flirtatious ritual dance with puffed chests and fanned tails in an attempt to attract females. Despite their macho efforts, only 15 percent of these show-offs successfully attract a mate.
  • The Governments of Canada and Alberta have partnered to fund a captive breeding program at the Calgary Zoo as one aspect of an intensive effort to assist with species recovery in Canada.
Greater Sage-Grouse map
Greater Sage-Grouse map
Long description for Greater Sage-Grouse map

This is the distribution map of Greater Sage-Grouse in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. There are five separate areas with the species. The largest area is in the extreme south eastern corner of Alberta in the area around Manyberries and extending south and east through the One Four Research Station, and across the AB SK border. Moving to the right, the next is a small area south of Eastend Saskatchewan. Further east, is a cluster of three circles: two encompass the east and west blocks of  Grasslands National Park and third is north of Val Marie, Saskatchewan.

Top of Page


Least Bittern

Ixobrychus exilis

Photo of Least Bittern
Photo: © Parks Canada, W. Lynch
Long description for Least Bittern photo

Here is an image of a Least Bittern perched facing left,  on a dead piece of bull rush in a marsh. It has brown and buffy side plumage, with broad buff streaks on its white underside, and a contrasting black back and crown. Its beak is long, yellow and pointed

Length of males:
65 - 75 cm (25-30 inches)
Length of females:
56-58 cm (22-23 inches)

Threatened

Least bitterns are much smaller than other members of the heron family such as American bitterns. They are secretive, often heard giving a soft, low "coo" call. In flight, their legs often dangle below their bodies. They generally prefer marshes that are five hectares (12.5 acres) in size or larger. They reside in areas covered in dense cattail next to deeper open water.

Did you know?

  • Like other bitterns, they are occasionally seen holding a reed-like pose with their bill pointed upwards, blending in with their surroundings.
  • They are affected by recreational water activities and the decline in the number and quality of marshes in the Prairies.
  • Maintaining vegetation around wetlands will improve water quality and clarity which they need to forage for aquatic insects, frogs and small fish.
Least Bittern map
Least Bittern map
Long description for Least Bittern map

This is a distribution map for Least Bittern in Manitoba. Starting at the border with North Dakota, Least Bitterns are found in a swath between South Junction and Manitou, straight north through the inter lake region, to Gypsumville.

Top of Page


Piping Plover

Charadrius melodus circumcinctus

Photo of Piping Plover and Killdeer
Photo: © G. W. Beyersbergen; © Environment Canada, J. Paul Goossen
Long description for Piping Plover photo

This is a photo of a Killdeer and a Piping plover, both facing left, standing amongst some white rocks on a beach. The Killdeer in the background, is larger, has a darker brown back and head, a dark bill, a red eye, and two dark black neck rings. The Piping Plover in the foreground is much lighter in color, has only one black neck collar and an orange bill with a dark tip.

Length:
15 - 19 cm (6-7 inches)

Threatened

Piping plovers are small shorebirds with a single neck-band, an orange bill with a black tip and orange legs that differentiate them from similar looking killdeer that have two neck-bands (see photo). Plovers are found on sparsely vegetated sand or gravel beaches and alkali mud flats where they nest and raise their young.

Did you know?

  • Keeping pets, cattle and vehicles (including ATVs) off nesting beaches increases survival of plovers.
  • Ranchers and other landowners have signed up for voluntary stewardship programs to conserve piping plovers and their habitat.
Piping Plover map
Piping Plover and Killdeer map
Long description for Piping Plover map

This is a map of the distribution of Piping Plovers in the three prairie provinces. There are four areas where they are found. The first and largest is goes across much of east central Alberta and central SK as far east as the Quill Lakes in SK, and south in an irregular pattern between Lethbridge and Edmonton, Alberta in the west and eastward to  Weyburn, Saskatchewan,  excluding the grassland areas east-northeast of Lethbridge. Piping Plovers are also found in three other areas, all in Manitoba; 1) a small area around Oak Lake, west of Brandon, 2) a very small area at the southern tip of Lake Winnipegosis, and 3) in a crescent shaped distribution starting at the southern edge of Lake Manitoba, moving north and east over the southern portion of Lake Winnipeg, then north west over Lake Winnipeg to the interlake region.

Top of Page


Prairie Loggerhead Shrike

Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides

Photo of Prairie Loggerhead Shrike
Photo: © 23 cm (9 inches)
Long description for Prairie Loggerhead Shrike photo

This is a photo of a Prairie Loggerhead Shrike perched facing right on a thorny branch, against a blue sky. The shrike has a distinctive black mask across their eyes and forehead. Wings and tail are also predominately black. The top of the head, the back and the hind quarters are dark grey, while the lower body is whitish with stripes that are barely visible.

Length:
23 cm (9 inches)

Threatened

Prairie loggerhead shrikes are slightly smaller than a robin with a distinctive black mask across their eyes and forehead. They occupy open grassland areas, but require scattered trees or shrubs nearby for nesting and perches. The loggerhead shrike migrates south in winter, and are replaced on the Canadian Prairie by the similar but slightly larger northern shrike.

Did you know?

  • These masked hunters use their sharply hooked beak to kill insects or mice and will often impale their prey on thorns or barbed wire for future use.
  • Shrikes often use roadside power lines and fences as hunting perches.
  • Do not clear abandoned farmyards to maintain shrub and tree growth for nesting shrikes and other wildlife.
Prairie Loggerhead Shrike map
Prairie Loggerhead Shrike map
Long description for Prairie Loggerhead Shrike map

This is the distribution map of Prairie Loggerhead Shrikes in the three prairie provinces. They are found south of the boreal forest, in a large area south of Edmonton and Saskatoon and west of Winnipeg.

Top of Page


Sage Thrasher

Oreoscoptes montanus

Photo of Sage Thrasher
Photo: © Peter LaTourrette, 2001
Long description for Sage Thrasher photo

This is a photo of a Sage Thrasher standing alert in a grass field, facing right, with its tail held out straight behind. The plumage is very cryptic, It has greyish-brown upperparts and grey-brown stripes on its breast and belly. The Sage Thrasher’s face appears streaked with a whitish eyebrow bar and black streaks on the sides of the throat. Its bill is relatively short.

Length:
20 - 23 cm (8 - 9 inches)

Endangered

Sage thrashers are slightly smaller than robins and are distinguished from the more common brown thrashers by their shorter tail and grayish rather than reddishbrown colour. As the name implies, sage thrashers prefer areas where sagebrush grows.

Did you know?

  • Both males and females are equally involved in building the nest, sitting on the eggs and caring for the young.
  • Although they are common south of the border in areas where sagebrush is abundant, they are extremely rare in Canada.
Sage Thrasher map
Sage Thrasher map
Long description for Sage Thrasher map

The distribution of Sage Thrasher is in an area from Medicine Hat, Alberta, south to the border, and north east to Eastend, Saskatchewan.

Top of Page


Sprague's Pipit

Anthus spragueii

Photo of Sprague's Pipit
Photo: © Bob Gress, 2002
Long description for Sprague's Pipit photo

This is a photo of a Sprague’s Pipit standing alert on a rock, facing left, against a grass background. The species superficially resembles a sparrow, with its brown and white streaked plumage, and has several field marks that make it readily identifiable if observed in close proximity. The head is characterized by a thin bill and relatively large brown eyes; the breast is composed of a necklace of short streaks, while the belly and flanks are unmarked. The legs are pink in this photo.

Length:
16 - 17 cm (6 – 7 inches)

Threatened

Sprague's pipits are secretive sparrow-like birds more often heard than seen. The males sing a twittering "Cheeeer, Cheeer, Cheeer, Cheeer" while circling at a height of up to 150 m (500 feet) in the air. Then, they drop rapidly to the ground and hide in the grass.

Did you know?

  • Sprague's pipits nest on the ground in native grasslands and feed insects to their young.
  • They prefer range in fair to excellent condition and are rare in cultivated lands or introduced forage.
Sprague's Pipit map
Sprague's Pipit map
Long description for Sprague's Pipit map

This is the distribution map of Sprague’s Pipit in the three prairie provinces. They are found from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in southern and central Alberta to southwestern Manitoba.

Top of Page


Red-headed Woodpecker

Melanerpes erythrocephalus

Photo of Red-headed Woodpecker
Photo: © Ron Bazin
Long description for Red-headed Woodpecker photo

This is a photo of the Red-headed Woodpecker perched on an old stump against a green background. The bird is very striking, with a red head and nape, white belly and wingtips, and a black back and forewings. It has a large, light coloured beak.

Length:
24 cm (9¼ inches)

Threatened

Red-headed woodpeckers are easily recognizable robin-sized birds. They have an unmistakable red head and neck and contrasting black and white body. Large white patches are visible on their wings in flight. They prefer woodlots containing larger scattered trees and limited ground cover usually located near clearings such as roads or open pastures.

Did you know?

  • They can catch flying insects, and do so more frequently and skillfully than most other woodpeckers.
  • The male is solely responsible for incubation during the night.
  • They nest in dead standing trees or dead limbs of live trees, often found within grazed wooded pastures. Landowners should avoid removing dead trees and limbs from their property if possible.
Red-headed Woodpecker Racer map
Photo of Red-headed Woodpecker map
Long description for Red-headed Woodpecker map

This is a distribution map of the Red-headed Woodpecker in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It is found just east of the Saskatchewan/Alberta border near Swift Current, north to Yorkton, over to the west side of Lake Winnipeg and down to the south east corner of Manitoba.

Top of Page

Return to Table of Contents

Reptiles

Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer

Coluber constrictor flaviventris

Photo of Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer
Photo: Parks Canada, W. Lynch
Long description for Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer photo

This is a photo of an Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer, coiled up on a patch of sparsely vegetated, gravely ground. The head of the snake is near the center of the coils, facing right, showing a black eye and a black tongue sticking out, and a yellowish face. The snake is slender and predominately a bright bluish-green.

Length:
51 - 121 cm (20 - 48 inches)

Threatened

Eastern yellow-bellied racers are long and slender snakes with whip-like tails, elongated heads and smooth lustrous scales. The upper part of their bodies are bluish-green and their bellies are yellow. In Canada, they are found in a few areas of southern Saskatchewan, in open habitats such as grasslands and agricultural areas. They also appear in extreme southeastern Alberta.

Did you know?

  • As the name implies, racers are built for speed and are capable of travelling up to 7 km/h for very short distances.
  • They return to the same den each year to hibernate through the winter months.
  • Be aware of snakes which may be on roads in their general area of occurrence as they disperse to feed in the summer months.
Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer map
Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer map
Long description for Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer map

This is the distribution map of Eastern Yellow-bellied Racers in Alberta and Saskatchewan. There are three areas where the snake is found; in south eastern Alberta at the One-Four Research Station, in and around Grassland National Park, and  around the tributaries in the Big Muddy region in Saskatchewan.

Top of Page


Greater Short-horned Lizard

Phrynosoma hernandesi

Photo of Greater Short-horned Lizard
Photo: A. B. Sheldon
Long description for Greater Short-horned Lizard photo

This is a photo of a Greater Short-horned Lizard facing right, and basking in the sun on a rock, with grass blades in the background. The lizard has a flat wide body and short legs.  It is exceptionally cryptic, in shades of grey with a whitish side/belly showing.  The many short horns on its head and body that give this species its common name.

Length:
6 – 9.5 cm (2.5 to 3.75 inches)

Endangered

The greater short-horned lizard is a squat grayish lizard with some dark blotches, often with white edges, on its back. There are short spines along the back of the head, and there are fringes of triangular scales along the sides of the abdomen. This lizard thrives in a hot, dry badland habitat with exposed soils, sparse vegetation along drainages such as rocky river beds in southeastern Alberta and in Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan.

Did you know?

  • This lizard eats a variety of insects but it is especially fond of ants.
  • The females bear live young which are about 1 inch long.
  • These lizards are very secretive and extremely difficult to find because their colour closely matches the ground colour, and these lizards often do not move when they are approached.
Greater Short-horned Lizard map
Photo of Northern Prairie Skink
Long description for Greater Short-horned Lizard map

This is a distribution map of Greater Short-horned Lizards in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. The lizards occur in four disjunct areas in southeast Alberta: 1) the South Saskatchewan River valley near Medicine Hat; 2) the Chin Coulee/Forty Mile Coulee Complex; 3) the area east and south of Manyberries in the Pakowki Lake drainage; and 4) the valleys of the Milk River and Lost River.  The largest area of continuous occupied habitat in Alberta is found south and east of the town of Manyberries along the southern fringe of the Cypress Hills.

Greater short-horned lizards occur in four disjunct areas of known occupancy in southwest Saskatchewan within and near Grasslands National Park: 1) the northern portion of the West Block of Grasslands National Park;  2) the central portion of the West Block of Grasslands National Park; 3) the southern portion of the West Block of Grasslands National Park; and 4) the southern portion of the East Block of Grasslands National Park.

Top of Page


Northern Prairie Skink

Plestiodon septentrionalis

Photo of Northern Prairie Skink
Photo: © A. B. Sheldon
Long description for Northern Prairie Skink photo

This is a photo of a Northern Prairie Skin on a log, facing left and downward.  It is a small, slender lizard with short legs and is distinguished by the four light stripes bordered by black that run the entire length of its body and along part of its tail. The tail, which can be almost as long as the body, is blue-grey in adults and bright blue in juveniles.

Length:
5 - 8.5 cm (2 - 3.35 inches)

Endangered

The northern prairie skink is a cigar-shaped lizard with small legs, an olive to olivebrown back, dark sides and seven light stripes on its back and sides. The tail is bright blue in the young. It inhabits sandy areas with adequate cover, such as native grasses.

Did you know?

  • The prairie skink is the only lizard species in Manitoba and one of only six native lizard species in Canada.
  • Female prairie skinks nest in subterranean burrows or, more typically, under artificial cover such as sheets of tin and old boards.
  • They spend more than seven months of the year in hibernation.
Northern Prairie Skink map
Northern Prairie Skink map
Long description for Northern Prairie Skink map

This is a distribution map of the Northern Prairie Skink in Manitoba. This species can be found in two separate regions. The species is mainly found in the sandy soils of the Assiniboine delta in the Carberry Sandhills. It is also found in the Lauder Sand Hills. The northern boundary of the main population’s range is approximately 6 km southwest of Neepawa and the southern boundary is 3.5 km northeast of Glenboro, south of the Assiniboine.

Top of Page

Return to Table of Contents

Insects

Dakota Skipper

Hesperia dacotae

Photo of Dakota Skipper
Photo: © Robert P. Dana
Long description for Dakota Skipper photo

This is a photo of a Dakota Skipper, a butterfly sitting on a pink flower. It is tawny orange with a brownish border on the upper side of the wings.

Wingspan:
21 - 29 mm (0.83 - 1.14 inches)

Threatened

Male Dakota skippers are tawny orange with a brownish border on the upper side of the wings and an elongated dark mark on the front wings. The undersides are yellowish orange with paler spots forming a semicircle. Females are similar but have less distinctive buff colouring and faint markings. They occur only in native tallgrass and mixed grass prairie.

Did you know?

  • Only 4 isolated populations are known to occur in Canada.
  • Conversion of native prairie to cultivated land is one of the biggest threats to Dakota skippers. Since European settlement, 99.9% of the native mixed and tall-grass Prairie in Manitoba and 81% of the mixed-grass prairie in Saskatchewan has been lost.
Dakota Skipper map
Dakota Skipper map
Long description for Dakota Skipper map

This is the distribution map of the Dakota Skipper in southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The largest population is east of the southern portion of   Lake Winnipeg, and the other is near Griswold. In Saskatchewan, the Dakota Skipper is found at two sites near Oxbow, and Roche Percee.

Top of Page


Dusky Dune Moth

Copablepharon longipenne

Photo of Dusky Dune Moth
Photo: © Environment Canada, Medea Curteanu
Long description for Dusky Dune Moth photo

This is a photo of a Dusky Dune moth on a spiky grey plant. The moth has light yellow-brown or yellow-grey forewings crossed by a distinctive line of black dots. The hindwings are dark grey-brown.

Wingspan:
11-20 mm (0.4 - 0.8 inches)

Endangered

The dusky dune moth is a mediumsized, light brown moth with a distinctive line of black dots on the forewing. A pale streak is often present along the edge of the forewing. Males and females are similar in appearance but females are generally larger in size.

Did you know?

  • Dusky dune moths inhabit sparsely vegetated active sand dunes; a rare type of habitat that has been declining in Canada for over a century.
  • Very little is known about dusky dune moth adult and larval host plants.
Dusky Dune Moth map
Dusky Dune Moth map
Long description for Dusky Dune Moth map

This is the distribution map of Dusky Dune Moth in the three prairie provinces. In Alberta it is found in the Pakowki Sand Hills near Manyberries, in several sandhills found between Canadian Forces Base Suffield and Swift Current, Saskatchewan, sandhills near Elbow and Saskatoon, in the Brandon sandhills.

Top of Page


Gold-edged Gem

Schinia avemensis

Photo of Gold-edged Gem
Photo: © Jason J. Dombroskie
Long description for Gold-edged Gem photo

This is a photo of a Gold-edged Gem (a moth on the left side facing the dark centre of a bright yellow sunflower. The moth has brownish-maroon upper wings marked with two light yellow bands along the trailing edge.

Wingspan:
16 - 20 mm (7/8 of an inch)

Endangered

The gold-edged gem is a small day-flying moth with specialized habitat requirements. The moth inhabits remnant patches of active sand dunes or blowouts where colonies of Prairie sunflowers (its only known larval host plant) exist. Upper wings of the gold-edged gem are brownish-maroon marked with two yellow bands. Its name comes from the distinctive pale yellow band along the margin of its wings.

Did you know?

  • The gold-edged gem can remain in the pupal stage for more than a year, but once they emerge as adults, they live for only a week.
  • The gradual stabilization of active sand dunes by native or introduced vegetation such as sweet clover and spurge threaten this moth's habitat.
Gold-edged Gem map
Gold-edged Gem map
Long description for Gold-edged Gem map

This is the distribution map of the Gold-edged Gem in the southern three prairie provinces. It is known to occur in nine sand hills, including three occurrences in southeastern Alberta, five occurrences in Saskatchewan, and one occurrence in southwestern Manitoba. In Alberta it is found in the Pakowki Sand Hills near Manyberries, in several sandhills found between Canadian Forces Base Suffield and Swift Current, Saskatchewan, sandhills near Elbow and Saskatoon, in the Brandon sandhills.

Top of Page


Ottoe Skipper

Hesperia ottoe

Photo of Ottoe Skipper
Photo: © Robert Dana
Long description for Ottoe Skipper photo

This is a photo of two Ottoe Skippers (butterflies) perched back to back on two pink flowers. The skippers have hooked antennae, large dark eyes, a short, stout body, and the pale yellowish-orange undersides of the wings  are visible.

Wingspan:
29 - 35 mm (1.1 - 1.4 inches)

Endangered

The ottoe skipper is a rare butterfly found in localized areas of Manitoba's dry mixed-grass and sand-prairie habitats. The male has yellowish-orange wings with a diffused brown border and an elongated mark on the forewing. The female is dull brown with pale buff markings and one or two whitish spots on the forewing. Males and females both have pale yellowish-orange undersides.

Did you know?

  • Ottoe skipper cannot survive in altered or disturbed habitats and much of this species' preferred grassland habitat has been converted to farmland.
  • This species was last seen in Spruce Woods Provincial Park in the late 1980s.
Ottoe Skipper map
Ottoe Skipper map
Long description for Ottoe Skipper map

This is the distribution map of the Ottoe Skipper in south western Manitoba. It is only found in Spruce Woods Provincial Park, Canadian Forces Base Shilo, and adjacent area.

Top of Page


Poweshiek Skipperling

Oarisma poweshiek

Photo of Poweshiek Skipperling
Photo: © Mike Reese
Long description for Poweshiek Skipperling photo

This is a photo of a Poweshiek Skipperling butterfly perched facing right, on the center of a bright yellow sunflower. It has hooked antennae, a slender body, dark brown upper wings, with orange leading edges and veins of the forewings. Its head is also orange.

Wingspan:
24 - 30 mm (0.95 - 1.2 inches)

Threatened

The Poweshiek skipperling, like all skippers, has a hooked antennae and characteristic skipping flight pattern. This butterfly has an orange head and dark brown upper wings with orange lines along the wing margin. The undersides of wings are dark grey with distinctive silvery-outlined veins. In Canada, they only occur in wet to mesic native tall-grass prairies.

Did you know?

  • In Canada, the Powershiek skipperling is found within a 2300-ha area of Southeast Manitoba.
  • This butterfly was first discovered in Iowa and is named after the county it was found in: Poweshiek County.
Poweshiek Skipperling map
Poweshiek Skipperling map
Long description for Poweshiek Skipperling map

The distribution of the Poweshiek Skipperling is limited to and area around Gardenton in south eastern Manitoba.

Top of Page


Verna's Flower Moth

Schinia verna

Photo of Verna's Flower Moth
Photo: © Gary Anweiler
Long description for Verna's Flower Moth photo

This is a photo of an adult Verna’s Flower Moth with its wings outstretched, top view. It has a stout body, dorsal surface of the forewing is olive-brown in colour with dull red-brown bands and cream white patches. The forewing margin has white and grey stripes.

Wingspan:
20 mm (0.78 inches)

Threatened

The forewings of the Verna's flower moth are contrastingly marked with olive-brown and maroon on a white background. The hindwings are black and white, giving the moth an overall checkered appearance. The known global range of Verna's flower moth is restricted to the Canadian Prairie grassland and parkland region. It is a day-flying moth, whose flight period is closely synchronized with the blooming of pussytoes, the larval food plant.

Did you know?

  • Only one population of Verna's flower moth has been observed in Canada since 2000, north of Jenner, Alberta. It is unknown if other populations still exist.
  • The larvae of Verna's flower moth are cannibalistic!
Verna's Flower Moth map
Verna's Flower Moth map
Long description for Verna's Flower Moth map

This is the distribution map of Verna’s Flower Moth in the three prairie provinces. It has only seen in five locations; Spruce Woods Provincial Park, Manitoba, Saskatoon, Medicine Hat, North of Jenner, Alberta and northwest of Alliance, Alberta.

Top of Page


White Flower Moth

Schinia bimatris

Photo of White Flower Moth
Photo: © Vernon Antoine Brou Jr.
Long description for White Flower Moth photo

This is a photo of a White Flower Moth, with wings outstreched,  top view.  It is a plain moth with an orange head and pure white wings.

Wingspan:
31 mm (1.23 inches)

Endangered

The white flower moth is a relatively small moth with an orange head and wings of pure glossy white – it is distinctive from all other species of moths in Canada. Only one population is known to occur in Canada, in the Spruce Woods Provincial Park region of southwest Manitoba.

Did you know?

  • Little is known about this nocturnal moth, but it is thought to live in association with the white evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa).
  • This moth appears to be restricted to active sand dunes, and thus vegetation growth on sand dunes may pose a threat to this species.
White Flower Moth map
White Flower Moth map
Long description for White Flower Moth map

This is the distribution map of the White Flower Moth in south western Manitoba. It is only found in Spruce Woods Provincial Park, Canadian Forces Base Shilo, and adjacent area.

Top of Page


Yucca Moth, Non-pollinating Yucca Moth & Five-spotted Bogus Yucca Moth

Tegeticula yuccasella, Tegeticula corruptrix & Prodoxus quinquepunctellus

Photo of Non-pollinating Yucca Moth (photo on the left) and Yucca Moth (photo on the right)
Photo: © Gordon Court, Photo: © Olof Pellmyr
Long description for Yucca Moth, Non-pollinating Yucca Moth & Five-spotted Bogus Yucca Moth photo

Yucca Moth (photo on the right): This is a photo of a Yucca Moth perched facing foreward, on the centre of a soapweed (yucca) plant. It has a whitish head and darker legs and antennae. The moth is a relatively small, slender-winged and brown.

Non-pollinating Yucca Moth (photo on the left): This is a photo of 5 Non-pollinating Yucca Moths on a soapweed (yucca) plant. They appear as bluish seedlike shapes around the greenish centre of the plant. 

 

Wingspan:
18 - 27.5 mm (0.7 - 1.1 inches)

Endangered

The yucca moth is a small whitish moth that, like the non-pollinating yucca moth and the five-spotted bogus yucca moth, can be found within the flowers of the soapweed (yucca) plant. These three highly specialized moths are dependent on the soapweed plant and are only found in the localized parts of southern Alberta where soapweed occurs. All three moth species are in decline due to grazing by deer and antelope, agriculture, off-road traffic and the horticultural and medicinal collection of soapweed.

Did you know?

  • The yucca moth's mouth is specially evolved to pollinate the soapweed plant whereas the other two moths simply cohabit the host.
  • The survival of two other endangered moth species depends on the pollination of the soapweed.
Map of Yucca Moth, Non-pollinating Yucca Moth and Five-spotted Bogus Yucca Moth map
Map of Yucca Moth, Non-pollinating Yucca Moth and Five-spotted Bogus Yucca Moth map
Long description for Map of Yucca Moth, Non-pollinating Yucca Moth and Five-spotted Bogus Yucca Moth map

This is the distribution map of the moth species, in south eastern Alberta. Because of their dependency on soapweed, the distribution is where the naturally occurring populations of soapweed in Alberta. The first is scattered along the slopes of the Lost River and the second is located on the Pinhorn Provincial Grazing Reserve, in the Milk River drainage basin.

Top of Page

Return to Table of Contents

Plants

Slender Mouse-ear-cress

Halimolobos virgata

Photo of Slender Mouse-ear-cress
Photo: © Bonnie Heidel
Long description for Slender Mouse-ear-cress photo

This is a photo of a Slender Mouse-ear-cress with a pencil to the right of it  to provide a reference to scale. Plants are densely hairy, covered with greyish forked, multi-branched and often simple hairs.  Basal rosette leaves are toothed with stalks (petioles), while leaves on the stem are clasping with ear-like lobes at the base.  Leaves get smaller towards the top of the plant.  Stems can be branched.

Height:
10-35 cm (4-14 inches)
Flowers:
May-June

Threatened

The slender mouse-ear-cress can have single or branched stems, each ending with several white, 4-petaled flowers and seed pods containing many tiny seeds. It grows on flat to rolling open native prairie with sandy or loamy soils.

Did you know?

  • The leaves have ear-like lobes at the base and are covered in fine gray hairs, resembling mouse ears.
  • Slender mouse-ear-cress typically grows in areas that have had light disturbance from grazing.
Slender Mouse-ear-cress map
Slender Mouse-ear-cress map
Long description for Slender Mouse-ear-cress map

This is the distribution map of Slender Mouse-ear-cress in Alberta and Saskatchewan. There are two areas where the plant is found in Alberta; north of Brooks and along the South Saskatchewan and Red Deer Rivers north of Medicine Hat. In Saskatchewan, it is found in the Great Sandhills, around Lake Diefenbaker, and Buffalo Pound Lake.

Top of Page


Small-flowered Sand-verbena

Tripterocalyx micranthus

Small-flowered Sand-verbena
Photo: © Environment Canada, Candace Neufeld
Long description for Small-flowered Sand-verbena photo

This is a photo of Small-flowered sand-verbena growing in sand. It is an annual species, with branched, trailing stems and opposite leaves.  It produces small, greenish-white flowers in umbel-like clusters and large peach-coloured winged fruits.

20-30 cm (8-12 inches) high with branches trailing up to 60 cm (24 inches).

Flowers:
mid-June to fall

Endangered

The small-flowered sandverbena is an annual plant with highly branched stems, mostly trailing over the ground. It has paired leaves, and small greenish-white flowers arranged in dense clusters which turn into pinkish papery winged fruits. It grows in active or sparsely vegetated sand dunes, and on sandy slopes along rivers.

Did you know?

  • It can be confused with a look-alike species called sand dock (Rumex venosus). However, sand dock is a perennial with alternate leaves, papery sheaths around where the leaves join the stem, and more reddish coloring.
  • The wings surrounding the seed may contain a chemical that inhibits seed germination until conditions are right for growth.
Small-flowered Sand-verbena map
Small-flowered Sand-verbena map
Long description for Small-flowered Sand-verbena map

This is the distribution map of Small-flowered Sand-verbena in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It is restricted to localized sand dune complexes within wind-blown and glaciofluvial landscapes in Alberta and Saskatchewan.  These sand dunes complexes are comprised mainly of the Dominion, Grassy Lake, Bowmanton, and Middle sand hills in Alberta.  In Saskatchewan, the sand dune complexes include the Empress Meander and Cramersburg sand hills as well as unnamed sand hills along the South Saskatchewan River bank at Saskatchewan Landing and south of Outlook.

Top of Page


Small White Lady's-Slipper

Cypripedium candidum

Photo of Small White Lady's-Slipper
Photo: © Manitoba Conservation, Wildlife & Ecosystem Protection Branch
Long description for Small White Lady's-Slipper photo

This is a photo of a Small White Lady’s-Slipper. Flowers consist of a small (less than 2.7 cm long), white, pouch-shaped “slipper” with purplish veins or spots. The surrounding twisted, greenish-yellow petals and sepals are also streaked or spotted with purple.

Height:
20-36 cm (8-14 inches)
Flowers:
late May to early June

Endangered

The small white lady's-slipper is an attractive orchid with flowers that resemble a slipper due to a white pouch streaked with purple, and two side petals that are twisted and yellowish green. It grows in large clumps with each stem surrounded by two or four leaves, and is found in full sun on calcium-rich prairie openings in wooded grasslands, roadside ditches and moister tallgrass prairie.

Did you know?

  • It can take about 12 years for a plant to flower.
  • A key component in survival and recovery of tall grass prairie species is conservation of the little habitat that is remaining, such as the Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie Preserve.
Small White Lady's-Slipper map
Small White Lady's-Slipper map
Long description for Small White Lady's-Slipper map

This is a distribution map of Small White Lady’s-Slipper in southern Manitoba. It occurs in 9 small areas in a triangle between Brandon, the south eastern corner of Lake Manitoba and Vita south of Winnipeg.

Top of Page


Smooth Goosefoot

Chenopodium subglabrum

Photo of Smooth Goosefoot
Photo: © Candace Neufeld
Long description for Smooth Goosefoot photo

This is a photo of Smooth Goosefoot.  It is erect and branching with an airy look, growing to 10-55 (80) cm high.  Leaves are alternate, fleshy, one-veined, hairless and almost or entirely lacking the mealiness (whitish scales) common to most goosefoots. Flowers are small, with only 5 green tepals (no petals), and are in rounded clusters (glomerules) that are widely spaced along the upper, leafy branches. The whole plant has a yellowish green coloration.

Height:
10-50cm (4-19 inches)
Flowers:
July – August

Threatened

Smooth goosefoot is an annual plant, yellowish green in colour, with fleshy leaves and green clusters of flowers widely spaced along the branches. Smooth goosefoot grows in sandy soil on sparsely vegetated sand dunes.

Did you know?

  • Dune stabilization is one of the biggest threats to sand dune specialists; a combination of fire and grazing during appropriate times of the year, mimicking natural disturbance regimes, is likely most effective at maintaining open sand dune habitat.
  • Use of motorized or recreational vehicles (e.g. ATVs, motorbikes) in sand dunes can destroy sand dune plants and damage the habitat.
  • Invasive alien plants, such as leafy spurge, threaten to alter sand dune habitat making them unusable for sand dune species.
Smooth Goosefoot map
Smooth Goosefoot map
Long description for Smooth Goosefoot map

This is a distribution map of Smooth Goosefoot in the sand dunes of Alberta and Saskatchewan. It is found between Lethbridge and Saskatoon, and in sandhills east and west of Brandon.

Top of Page


Soapweed (Yucca)

Yucca glauca

Photo of Soapweed (Yucca)
Photo: © Joyce Gould
Long description for Soapweed (Yucca) photo

This is a photo of Soapweed in bloom. It is a large, drought-tolerant perennial with a broad crown of leaves emerging from a short woody base. The stiff, narrow and pointed leaves are 20 to 50 cm in length. The 50- to 100-cm flower stalk that emerges from the middle of the plant is topped by a cluster of creamy white, 5-cm flowers.

Height:
leaves 20-50 cm (8-20 inches) and flower stalk 50-100 cm (20-39 inches)
Flowers:
early May

Threatened

Soapweed is a large plant with a crown of broad sword-like leaves. When flowering, it has a tall stalk topped with creamy white flowers. It thrives in arid regions such as dry coulee slopes.

Did you know?

  • Soapweed can only be pollinated by the yucca moth and the larve only eats the seeds of soapweed!
  • There are a few introduced populations, such as in Lethbridge and southern Saskatchewan.
Soapweed (Yucca) map
Soapweed (Yucca) map
Long description for Soapweed (Yucca) map

This is the distribution map of Soapweed in south eastern Alberta and Saskatchewan. In Alberta is found in the One Four Research Station in and the Pinhorn Provincial Grazing Reserve, in the Milk River drainage basin. In Saskatchewan it is found near Fife Lake, east of Grassland Nation Park.

Top of Page


Tiny Cryptantha

Cryptantha minima

Photo of Tiny Cryptantha
Photo: © Charles Schurch Lewallen, 1999
Long description for Tiny Cryptantha photo

This is a photo of a Tiny Cryptantha in bloom. Its bristly-hairy stem is branched and reaches 20 cm in height. Equally bristly-hairy, the leaves are alternate, entire, linear with a broader base and measure up to 6 cm long. They become smaller near the top of the stem and continue into the flower spikes as leafy bracts. The flower head is composed of several flower spikes. The flower petals are white, and up to 3 mm long.

Height:
3-20 cm (1-8 inches)
Flowers:
June to July

Endangered

The tiny cryptantha is a small, bristly-haired annual plant. It has tiny white flowers with a yellow "eye" in the centre, and a small leaf-like bract at the base of each flower. It grows on sandy, rolling upland, valley slopes, or terraces in dry environments within a few km of rivers.

Did you know?

  • The fruit (calyx) each contain 4 nutlets; three are smaller and covered in bumps and the other is larger and smooth.
  • Tiny cryptantha seeds can germinate at temperatures below 0°C.
  • The bristles on the fruiting structures get caught on animal's fur as they pass by, helping to transport the seed.
Tiny Cryptantha map
Tiny Cryptantha map
Long description for Tiny Cryptantha map

This is a distribution map of Tiny Cryptantha in south eastern Alberta and just beyond the border, into Saskatchewan. It is found along the South Saskatchewan between Lethbridge and north of Canadian Forces Base Suffield to the border, and at the One Four Research Station in Alberta.

Top of Page


Western Silvery Aster

Symphyotrichum sericeum

Photo of Western Silvery Aster
Photo: © Thomas G. Barnes
Long description for Western Silvery Aster photo

This is a photo of the Western Silvery Aster. It is a perennial with several stems which measure 30 to 70 cm in height. The leaves are densely covered with silvery hairs. The flowers are violet to pink with lighter centers and occur in composite heads at the ends of branches.

Height:
30-70 cm (12-28 inches)
Flowers:
early August to mid-September

Threatened

The Western silvery aster has daisylike flowers with a yellowish-brown centre and bright pink to dark purple petals. Leaves are covered in silky hairs, giving it a silvery appearance. They are found on well-drained sandy or gravelly soils on prairie, roadside ditches, and openings in bur oak/trembling aspen woodlands.

Did you know?

  • Some populations occur along roadsides. Maintenance activities like mowing in late summer can impact western silvery aster if the flowering heads are removed before the seed is released.
  • Western silvery aster is threatened by gravel extraction, and invasion by non-native plants and woody species into prairie.
Western Silvery Aster map
Western Silvery Aster map
Long description for Western Silvery Aster map

This is the distribution map of the Western Silvery Aster in south central Manitoba. It is found in small areas north and east of Winnipeg, and in one large are south east of Winnipeg between Steinbach and the US border.

Top of Page


Western Prairie Fringed Orchid

Platanthera praeclara

Photo of Western Prairie Fringed Orchid
Photo: © Gene Fortney
Long description for Western Prairie Fringed Orchid photo

This is a photo of the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid in bloom. It is an erect perennial that grows from a tuber that has thick, fleshy roots. The single stem (rarely two or even three) is 40-88 cm high and does not usually have any branches. Along the stem, there are usually 5-7 leaves that are 9-15 cm long and 1.5-3.5 cm wide, the upper ones being reduced in size. The 5-15 cm long flower spike is 5-9 cm wide and consists of 4-33 white or creamy flowers, each with a distinctly fringed lip (lower petal).

Height:
40-88 cm (16-35 inches)
Flowers:
Late June-Mid July

Endangered

The Western prairie fringed-orchid has a spike of large, white flowers with deeply fringed petal margins. It grows in wet, poorly drained tall grass prairie, roadside ditches, and sedge meadows on calcium rich or alkaline sandy and loamy soils.

Did you know?

  • Flowers are fragrant at night to attract the Sphinx moths which pollinate it.
  • It requires very specific soil conditions so altering the water tables in the areas around the plants can make the habitat unsuitable.
  • Plants are susceptible to spraying of herbicides and fertilizers, roadside maintenance activities prior to seed set, and overgrazing.
Western Prairie Fringed Orchid map
Western Prairie Fringed Orchid map
Long description for Western Prairie Fringed Orchid map

This is the distribution map for Western Prairie Fringed Orchid in south central Manitoba. It is found in only one area centred around the town of Vita.

Top of Page

Return to Table of Contents

Where to go for more information

Government of Canada

Environment Canada
Canadian Wildlife Service

780-951-8700
Website: Species at Risk Public Regisrty

Provincial Governments

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
780-427-5185
Website: Fish & Wildlife Features

Manitoba Conservation Wildlife Branch
1-866-Manitoba
Website: Manitoba - Species At Risk

Saskatchewan Environment Fish and Wildlife Branch
1-800-567-4224
Website: Saskatchewan - Biodiversity

Return to Table of Contents

Species of Special Concern

Species
Sub-Species
Province
Great plains toad
Arthropods
AB, SK, MB
Northern leopard frog
Arthropods
NT, AB, SK, MB
Weidemeyer's admiral
Arthropods
AB
Monarch butterfly
Arthropods
BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, PQ, NB, PE, NS
Pale yellow dune moth
Arthropods
AB, SK, MB
Long-billed curlew
Birds
BC, AB, SK
McCown's longspur
Birds
AB, SK
Yellow rail
Birds
NT, BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, PQ, NB
Short-eared owl
Birds
YK, NT, NU, BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, PQ, NB, PE, NS, NL
Peregrine falcon
Birds
YT, NT, NU, BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, PQ, NB, NS, NL
Black-tailed prairie dog
Mammals
SK
Snapping turtle
Reptiles
SK, MB, ON, PQ, NB, NS
Turnor's willow
Vascular Plants
SK
Western blue flag iris
Vascular Plants
AB
Dwarf woolly-heads
Vascular Plants
AB, SK
Felt-leaf willow
Vascular Plants
NU, SK
Riddell's goldenrod
Vascular Plants
MB, ON
Sand-dune short-capsuled willow
Vascular Plants
SK

Return to Table of Contents