Threatened and Endangered Species in Nebraska

Nebraska has plant and animal species that are listed as threatened or endangered at the federal and/or state level. Populations of animals or plants can decline due to a variety of factors including, but not limited to, habitat loss or degradation, invasive species, disease, and human-related mortality. There are federal and state programs established to protect endangered and threatened species.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is the principal federal partner responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act (ESA), federal legislation intended to provide a means to conserve the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend and provide programs for conservation of those species, thus preventing extinction of plants and animals.

The USFWS definitions:

  • Endangered Species - an animal or plant species in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
  • Threatened Species - an animal or plant species likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
  • Extinct Species - a species that no longer exists. For ESA, a species currently believed to be extinct.
  • Ecosystem - a dynamic and interrelating complex of plant and animal communities and their associated nonliving (such as physical and chemical) environment.

Information from the USFWS Endangered Species Program:


The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) has an objective to preserve and increase populations of Nebraska's endangered and threatened species of wildlife and plants. Through the NGPC Natural Heritage Program, they strive to build resiliency of Nebraska's ecosystems by enhancing the habitat that wildlife need to survive and to prevent future threatened and endangered species listings. The Nebraska Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act is the Nebraska law that protects listed species. A species may be at-risk of extinction in Nebraska, but not throughout its entire range. Therefore, some species have a state status as endangered or threatened, but may be listed differently under the federal status.

Nebraska endangered and threatened species resources:

Piping Plover. Photo by USFWS.

Piping plover. USFWS image.

Swift Fox. Photo by USFWS.

Swift fox. USFWS image.

Whooping Crane. Photo by USFWS.

Whooping crane. USFWS image.

Nebraska Endangered and Threatened Species


Common Name Scientific Name State Status Federal Status
Eskimo Curlew* Numenius borealis Endangered Endangered
Whooping Crane Grus americana Endangered Endangered
Interior Least Tern Sternula antillarum athalassos Endangered Endangered
Piping Plover Charadrius melodus Threatened Threatened
Mountain Plover Charadrius montanus Threatened  
Black-footed Ferret* Mustela nigripes Endangered Endangered
Northern Long-eared Bat Myotis septentrionalis Threatened Threatened
Swift Fox Vulpes velox Endangered  
River Otter Lutra canadensis Threatened  
Southern Flying Squirrel Glaucomys volans Threatened  
Pallid Sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus Endangered Endangered
Topeka Shiner Notropis topeka Endangered Endangered
Sturgeon Chub Macrhybopsis gelida Endangered  
Blacknose Shiner Notropis heterolepis Endangered  
Lake Sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens Threatened  
Northern Redbelly Dace Phoxinus eos Threatened  
Finescale Dace Phoxinus neogaeus Threatened  
American Burying Beetle Nicrophorus americanus Endangered Endangered
Salt Creek Tiger Beetle Cicindela nevadica lincolniana Endangered Endangered
Massasauga Sistrurus catenatus Threatened  
Scaleshell Mussel Leptodea leptodon Endangered Endangered
Blowout Penstemon Penstemon haydenii Endangered Endangered
Colorado Butterfly Plant Gaura neomexicana ssp. coloradensis Endangered Threatened
Saltwort Salicornia rubra Endangered  
Western Prairie Fringed Orchid Platanthera praeclara Threatened Threatened
Ute Ladies'-tresses Spiranthes diluvialis Threatened Threatened
American Ginseng Panax quinquefolium Threatened  
Small White Lady's Slipper Cypripedium candidum Threatened  
* Species of historical occurrence in Nebraska but no known extant populations.


More information:

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission At-Risk Species

USFWS Endangered Species Program

USFWS Nebraska Endangered Species information

USFWS Species Reports for listed species found in Nebraska