Wisconsin's rare animals


Slender glass lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus), photo © Nick Walton.

The animals (both vertebrates and invertebrates) on Wisconsin's Natural Heritage Working List are species known or suspected to be rare in the state. It includes Species of Greatest Conservation Need that are legally designated as "endangered" or "threatened," as well as species in the advisory "special concern" category. Species become rare for a number of reasons, including habitat loss, habitat degradation, highly specialized habitat needs, disturbance sensitivity, genetic problems, exploitation, persecution, predation, competition and parasitism. Some species are rare here because Wisconsin is at the edge of their main ranges. Invasive species and climate change also have impacts on a species abundance and are expected to become even more significant factors in the future.

Explore rare species pages

Animal species pages contain information about Wisconsin's rare animals, including preferred habitats, where they've been found in the state and their legal protection. See the Working List for rank and status definitions.

Scientific Name Common Name Global
WI Status Animal Group
Accipiter atricapillus American Goshawk G5 S2B,S2N SOC SC/M Birds
Acipenser fulvescens Lake Sturgeon G3G4 S3 SC/H Fishes
Acris blanchardi Blanchard's Cricket Frog G5 S1 END Amphibians
Alosa chrysochloris Skipjack Herring G5 S1 END Fishes
Ammodramus savannarum Grasshopper Sparrow G5 S2S3B SC/M Birds
Ammospiza leconteii LeConte's Sparrow G5 S2S3B SC/M Birds
Ammospiza nelsoni Nelson's Sparrow G5 S1B SC/M Birds
Anas rubripes American Black Duck G5 S2S3B SC/M Birds
Anguilla rostrata American Eel G4 S2 SC/N Fishes
Antrostomus vociferus Eastern Whip-poor-will G5 S2B SC/M Birds
Apalone mutica Smooth Softshell G5 S3 SC/H Reptiles
Ardea alba Great Egret G5 S2B THR Birds
Asio flammeus Short-eared Owl G5 S1B,S3N SC/M Birds
Asio otus Long-eared Owl G5 S2B SC/M Birds
Aspidoscelis sexlineata Six-lined Racerunner G5 S2S3 SC/H Reptiles
Bartramia longicauda Upland Sandpiper G5 S2B THR Birds
Botaurus lentiginosus American Bittern G5 S2S3B SC/M Birds
Bucephala clangula Common Goldeneye G5 S2B,S5N SC/M Birds
Buteo lineatus Red-shouldered Hawk G5 S3S4B,S1N THR Birds
Canachites canadensis Spruce Grouse G5 S1S2 THR Birds
Carphophis vermis Western Wormsnake G5 S1 SC/H Reptiles
Catharus ustulatus Swainson's Thrush G5 S2B SC/M Birds
Centronyx henslowii Henslow's Sparrow G4 S2S3B SOC THR Birds
Charadrius melodus Piping Plover G3 S1B LE END Birds
Chlidonias niger Black Tern G4G5 S2B SOC END Birds
Chondestes grammacus Lark Sparrow G5 S2S3B SC/M Birds
Chordeiles minor Common Nighthawk G5 S2S3B SC/M Birds
Coccothraustes vespertinus Evening Grosbeak G5 S2B,S2N SC/M Birds
Colinus virginianus Northern Bobwhite G4G5 S1B SC/M Birds
Coluber constrictor North American Racer G5 S2 SC/P Reptiles
Contopus cooperi Olive-sided Flycatcher G4 S2B SC/M Birds
Coregonus zenithicus Shortjaw Cisco G3 S1 SOC SC/H Fishes
Corthylio calendula Ruby-crowned Kinglet G5 S2S3B SC/M Birds
Coturnicops noveboracensis Yellow Rail G4 S1B THR Birds
Crotalus horridus Timber Rattlesnake G4 S2S3 SC/P Reptiles
Crystallaria asprella Crystal Darter G3 S1 SOC END Fishes
Cycleptus elongatus Blue Sucker G3G4 S2 THR Fishes
Diadophis punctatus arnyi Prairie Ring-necked Snake G5T5 S2S3 SC/H Reptiles
Dolichonyx oryzivorus Bobolink G5 S2S3B SC/M Birds
Empidonax minimus Least Flycatcher G5 S3B SC/M Birds
Empidonax virescens Acadian Flycatcher G5 S3B THR Birds
Emydoidea blandingii Blanding's Turtle G4 S3S4 SOC SC/P Reptiles
Eptesicus fuscus Big Brown Bat G5 S2S4 THR Mammals
Erimystax x-punctatus Gravel Chub G4 S1 END Fishes
Erimyzon sucetta Lake Chubsucker G5 S3 SC/N Fishes
Etheostoma asprigene Mud Darter G4 S3 SC/N Fishes
Etheostoma chlorosoma Bluntnose Darter G5 S1 END Fishes
Etheostoma microperca Least Darter G5 S3 SC/N Fishes
Euphagus carolinus Rusty Blackbird G4 S2B,S2N SC/M Birds
Euphagus cyanocephalus Brewer's Blackbird G5 S2S3B SC/M Birds
Falco peregrinus Peregrine Falcon G4 S1S2B END Birds
Fundulus dispar Starhead Topminnow G4 S2 END Fishes
Geothlypis formosa Kentucky Warbler G5 S1S2B THR Birds
Glaucomys sabrinus Northern Flying Squirrel G5 S3 SC/P Mammals
Glyptemys insculpta Wood Turtle G3 S3 SOC THR Reptiles
Helmitheros vermivorum Worm-eating Warbler G5 S1B END Birds
Hemidactylium scutatum Four-toed Salamander G5 S3? SC/H Amphibians
Himantopus mexicanus Black-necked Stilt G5 S1B SC/M Birds
Hiodon alosoides Goldeye G5 S2 END Fishes
Hybopsis amnis Pallid Shiner G4 S1 END Fishes
Hydroprogne caspia Caspian Tern G5 S1B,S2N END Birds
Icteria virens Yellow-breasted Chat G5 S2B SC/M Birds
Ictiobus niger Black Buffalo G5 S2 THR Fishes
Ixobrychus exilis Least Bittern G4G5 S2S3B SC/M Birds
Lanius ludovicianus Loggerhead Shrike G4 S1B SOC END Birds
Lasionycteris noctivagans Silver-haired Bat G3G4 S3 SC/N Mammals
Lepomis megalotis Longear Sunfish G5 S2 THR Fishes
Lithobates palustris Pickerel Frog G5 S3? SC/H Amphibians
Lithobates septentrionalis Mink Frog G5 S3 SC/H Amphibians
Luxilus chrysocephalus Striped Shiner G5 SH END Fishes
Lythrurus umbratilis Redfin Shiner G5 S2 THR Fishes
Macrhybopsis hyostoma Shoal Chub G5 S2 THR Fishes
Martes americana American Marten G5 S2 END Mammals
Melanerpes erythrocephalus Red-headed Woodpecker G5 S3B SC/M Birds
Microtus ochrogaster Prairie Vole G5 S2 SC/N Mammals
Microtus pinetorum Woodland Vole G5 S2 SC/N Mammals
Moxostoma carinatum River Redhorse G4 S2 THR Fishes
Moxostoma duquesnei Black Redhorse G5 S1 END Fishes
Myotis lucifugus Little Brown Bat G3G4 S2S4 THR Mammals
Myotis septentrionalis Northern Long-eared Bat G2G3 S1S2 LE THR Mammals
Napaeozapus insignis Woodland Jumping Mouse G5 S2 SC/N Mammals
Notropis anogenus Pugnose Shiner G3 S2 THR Fishes
Notropis nubilus Ozark Minnow G5 S2 THR Fishes
Noturus exilis Slender Madtom G5 S1 END Fishes
Nyctanassa violacea Yellow-crowned Night-Heron G5 S1B THR Birds
Nycticorax nycticorax Black-crowned Night-Heron G5 S2B SC/M Birds
Ophisaurus attenuatus Slender Glass Lizard G5 S1 END Reptiles
Oporornis agilis Connecticut Warbler G4G5 S2B SC/M Birds
Pantherophis spiloides Gray Ratsnake G4G5 S3 SC/P Reptiles
Percina evides Gilt Darter G4 S2S3 THR Fishes
Perimyotis subflavus Tricolored Bat G3G4 S1S3 THR Mammals
Perisoreus canadensis Canada Jay G5 S2S3 SC/M Birds
Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii Prairie Deer Mouse G5T5 S2S3 SC/N Mammals
Phalaropus tricolor Wilson's Phalarope G5 S1B SC/M Birds
Picoides arcticus Black-backed Woodpecker G5 S1S3B SC/M Birds
Pituophis catenifer Gophersnake G5 S2S3 SC/P Reptiles
Plestiodon septentrionalis Prairie Skink G5 S3 SC/H Reptiles
Podiceps grisegena Red-necked Grebe G5 S1B END Birds
Poecile hudsonicus Boreal Chickadee G5 S2S3B SC/M Birds
Poliocitellus franklinii Franklin's Ground Squirrel G5 S2 SC/N Mammals
Polyodon spathula Paddlefish G4 S2 THR Fishes
Pooecetes gramineus Vesper Sparrow G5 S2S3B SC/M Birds
Progne subis Purple Martin G5 S2S3B SC/M Birds
Protonotaria citrea Prothonotary Warbler G5 S2B SC/M Birds
Rallus elegans King Rail G4 S1B SC/M Birds
Regina septemvittata Queensnake G5 S1 END Reptiles
Scolopax minor American Woodcock G5 S3S4B SC/M Birds
Setophaga cerulea Cerulean Warbler G4 S2S3B SOC THR Birds
Setophaga citrina Hooded Warbler G5 S2S3B THR Birds
Setophaga dominica Yellow-throated Warbler G5 S1B END Birds
Setophaga kirtlandii Kirtland's Warbler G3G4 S1B END Birds
Sistrurus catenatus Eastern Massasauga G3 S1 LT END Reptiles
Sorex palustris American Water Shrew G5 S3 SC/N Mammals
Spiza americana Dickcissel G5 S3B SC/M Birds
Sterna forsteri Forster's Tern G5 S1B END Birds
Sterna hirundo Common Tern G5 S1B,S2N SOC END Birds
Sturnella magna Eastern Meadowlark G5 S2S3B SC/M Birds
Sturnella neglecta Western Meadowlark G5 S2B SC/M Birds
Terrapene ornata Ornate Box Turtle G5 S1 END Reptiles
Thamnophis butleri Butler's Gartersnake G4 S3S4 SC/H Reptiles
Thamnophis proximus Western Ribbonsnake G5 S1 END Reptiles
Thamnophis radix Plains Gartersnake G5 S2? SC/H Reptiles
Thamnophis saurita Eastern Ribbonsnake G5 S1 END Reptiles
Tropidoclonion lineatum Lined Snake G5 S1S2 SC/H Reptiles
Tympanuchus cupido Greater Prairie-Chicken G4 S1 THR Birds
Tympanuchus phasianellus Sharp-tailed Grouse G5 S1 SC/H Birds
Vermivora chrysoptera Golden-winged Warbler G4 S3B SOC SC/M Birds
Vireo bellii Bell's Vireo G5 S2B THR Birds
Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus Yellow-headed Blackbird G5 S1S2B SC/M Birds