Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals in, on, or above the Lewis Center For Educational Research's,Mojave River Campus

( 10/31/04)

This list represents all of the native or introduced amphibian, reptile,  bird and mammal species  known to exist in the Western Mojave Desert of California.  Introduced species are marked after the scientific name with "I", if it is a harvest species with "HA" and vagrant species or species with an extremely limited distribution with an *.  The term "introduced", as used here, represents both accidental and intentional introductions.  Subspecies are only included if they have special management status, as subspecies.  Common names with an * in front (ie.* Coyote), represent organisms that have been positively identified on the campus.

(For Information on each species, copy the scientific name into the NatureServe search page)

The Mojave River "Wildlands" (MRW) portions of the Lewis center for Educational Research's Mojave River Campus includes several diverse plant communities/habitats within one ecosystem (desert-riparian). Habitats can be described in different ways. To tell them apart ecologists use plant aggregations and the existence of water. There are many different plant communities in the MRW. These plant communities can be "lumped" into three main habitat groupings (based on available water) and 11 specific habitats (based on the plants supported). Where and when possible, plants in the following list that have been identified on the MRC have been "tagged" with one or more of the following abbreviations identifying what habitat they are found in:

Field Guides

CLASS:  AMPHIBIA (Amphibians)

CAUDATA (Salamanders)

         AMBYSTOMATIDAE (Mole Salamanders and relatives)

         DICAMPTODONTIDAE (Giant and Olympic Salamanders)


        SALAMANDRIDAE (Newts)

        PLETHODONTIDAE (Lungless Salamanders)

ANURA SALIENTIA (Frogs and Toads)

       ASCAPHIDAE (Tailed Frogs)

PELOBATIDAE (Spadefoot Toads)

       BUFONIDAE (True Toads)

HYLIDAE (Treefrogs and relatives)     

     RANIDAE (True Frogs)



          KINOSTERNIDAE (Musk and Mud Turtles)

         EMYDIDAE (Box and Water Turtles)

ACTINMYS (Pacific Pond Turtles ) 

        TESTUDINIDAE (True Land Tortoises)

SQUAMATA (Lizards and Snakes)

          EUBLEPHARIDAE (Eyelid Geckos)

          IGUANIDAE (Iguanids)


          CROTOPHYTIDAE (2)

          XANTUSIIDAE (Night Lizards)

          SCINCIDAE (Skinks)         

          TEIIDAE (Whiptails and relatives)

          ANGUIDAE (Alligator Lizards and relatives)

          LEPTOTYPHLOPIDAE (Slender Blind Snakes)

COLUBRIDAE (Colubrids)  

    VIPERIDAE (Vipers)        

(2) Some herpetologists still use Iguanidae for Phyrnosomatidae and Crotophytidae.

CLASS:  AVES (Birds)



           GAVIIDAE (Loons)


           PODICIPEDIDAE (Grebes)

 PROCELLARIIFORMES (Albatrosses, Shearwaters, Petrels, and relatives)

DIOMEDEIDAE (Albatrosses)

        PROCELLARIIDAE (Shearwaters, Fulmars)

        HYDROBATIDAE (Storm Petrels)

 PELECANIFORMES (Tropicbirds, Pelicans, and relatives)

           PHAETHONTIDAE (Tropicbirds)

           SULIDAE (Boobies and Gannets)

           PELECANIDAE (Pelicans)


       ANHINGIDAE (Darters)

FREGATIDAE (Frigatebirds)

 CICONIIFORMES (Herons, Storks, Ibises, and relatives)

      ARDEIDAE (Herons and Bitterns)

THRESKIORNITHIDAE (Ibises and Spoonbills)

      CICONIIDAE (Storks and Wood Ibises)

      CATHARTIDAE (New World Vultures)     

 ANSERIFORMES (Screamers, Ducks, and relatives)

ANATIDAE (Swans, Geese, and Ducks)     

 FALCONIFORMES (Vultures, Hawks, and Falcons)

           ACCIPITRIDAE (Hawks, Old World Vultures, and Harriers)

           FALCONIDAE (Caracaras and Falcons)

GALLIFORMES (Megapodes, Curassows, Pheasants, and relatives)

           PHASIANIDAE (Quails, Pheasants, and relatives)

           ODONTOPHORIDAE  (New World Quail)

 GRUIFORMES (Cranes, Rails, and relatives)

           RALLIDAE (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

           GRUIDAE (Cranes)

 CHARADRIIFORMES (Shorebirds, Gulls, and relatives)

           CHARADRIIDAE (Plovers and relatives)

           HAEMATOPODIDAE (Oystercatchers)

           RECURVIROSTRIDAE (Avocets and Stilts)

           SCOLOPACIDAE (Sandpipers and relatives)

           LARIDAE (Skuas, Gulls, Terns and Skimmers)

 COLUMBIFORMES (Pigeons and Doves)

          COLUMBIDAE (Pigeons and Doves)

PSITTACIFORMES (Parrots and relatives)

           PSITTACIDAE (Lories, Parakeets, Macaws, and Parrots)

CUCULIFORMES (Cuckoos and relatives)

           CUCULIDAE (Typical Cuckoos)


           TYTONIDAE (Barn Owls)        

           STRIGIDAE (Typical Owls)

CAPRIMULGIFORMES (Goatsuckers and relatives)

           CAPRIMULGIDAE (Goatsuckers)         

APODIFORMES (Swifts and Hummingbirds)

          APODIDAE (Swifts)

           TROCHILIDAE (Hummingbirds)

CORACIIFORMES (Kingfishers and relatives)

           ALCEDINIDAE (Kingfishers)

PICIFORMES (Woodpeckers and relatives)

           PICIDAE (Woodpeckers and Wrynecks)

PASSERIFORMES (Perching Birds)

           TYRANNIDAE (Tyrant Flycatchers)

     LANIIDAE (Shrikes)    

   VIREONIDAE (Typical Vireos)

           CORVIDAE (Jays, Magpies, and Crows)

           ALAUDIDAE (Larks)    

           HIRUNDINIDAE (Swallows)

       SITTIDAE (Nuthatches)

           CERTHIIDAE (Creepers)

           TROGLODYTIDAE (Wrens)   





           MIMIDAE (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)    

           STURNIDAE (Starlings & Allies)        

           MOTACILLIDAE (Wagtails and Pipits)

           BOMBYCILLIDAE (Waxwings)

          PTILOGONATIDAE (Silky Flycatchers)   

           EMBERIZIDAE (Wood Warblers, Sparrows, Blackbirds, and relatives)


      EMBERIZADAE (Emberizines)

  CARDINALIDAE (Cardinals, Grosbeaks & Allies)

ICTERIDAE (Blackbirds, Orioles & Allies)


PASSERIDAE (Old World Sparrows)      

           PLOCEIDAE (Weavers & Allies)

           ESTRILDIDAE (Waxbills & Allies)

(3)  Listed as Gilded Northern Flicker in CC&R Section 670.5



            DIDELPHIDAE ( Opossums)

INSECTIVORA (Insectivores)


       TALPIDAE (Moles)


            PHYLLOSTOMATIDAE (Leaf-nosed Bats)          

            VESPERTILIONIDAE (Evening Bats)            

           MOLOSSIDAE (Free-tailed Bats)         

LAGOMORPHA (Rabbits, Hares, and Pikas)

           LEPORIDAE (Rabbits and Hares)

RODENTIA (Squirrels, Rats, Mice, and relatives)

     SCIURIDAE (Squirrels, Chipmunks, and Marmots)

    GEOMYIDAE (Pocket Gophers)

   HETEROMYIDAE (Pocket Mice and Kangaroo Rats)         

           CASTORIDAE (Beavers)       


CARNIVORA (Carnivores)

           CANIDAE (Foxes, Wolves, and relatives)     

          URSIDAE (Bears)

PROCYONIDAE (Raccoons and relatives)     

          MUSTELIDAE (Weasels and relatives)

          MEPHITIDAE (Skunks)


ARTIODACTYLA (Even-toed Ungulates)

           CERVIDAE (Deer, Elk, and relatives) (extirpated ~ no longer found in the Victor Valley)

(5)     Some populations were introduced into the Sierra Nevada and Southern California from stock taken from Oregon and Washington.
(6)     Some populations in California were introduced.

(8)     Some taxonomists use the species name Felis silvestris, which refers to the Eurasian wild cat.  The domestic cat Felis cattus is not distinguishable from this


Amphibians and Reptiles   There are a number of formal lists of amphibians and reptiles that can be used to standardize the nomenclature of these species.  Collins et al. (1978, 1982) and Collins (1990) attempted to provide a standard list of amphibians and reptiles for North America.  Although the Collins (1990) list is quite recent,  many of the naming conventions for vernacular and scientific names are not well accepted by herpetologists, especially in the western United States (e.g., see Stebbins 1985, Jennings 1988).  Jennings (1987) produced a comprehensive list of species and subspecies found in California; however, genera, species, and subspecies are organized alphabetically rather than in a phylogenetic order.  Stebbins (1985), in the most recent update of his field guide to western amphibians and reptiles, organized the species list phylogenetically.  We followed the order set forth by Stebbins (1985) and used Jennings (1987) as an additional source for species found in California.  We prefer and generally used the scientific names from Stebbins (1985) but have also included names from Jennings (1987) where appropriate.  Names and relationships of amphibians and reptiles are currently undergoing many changes as new information accumulates.  As an example, the genus Batrachoseps is currently under intense study and changes in the list of species of this genus may occur in the next several years.  Thus, the nomenclature of these groups is relatively unstable.  We have taken a conservative approach when applying names to these species, and it is clear that a revision of these taxa will be necessary in a relatively short time.

Birds   We based the organization and nomenclature for species of birds and higher taxa on the work of the American Ornithologists' Union (AOU) Committee on Classification and Nomenclature (AOU 1998); names for subspecies are from the Fifth Edition of the AOU Check-list of North American Birds (1957).  A recent list of birds found in California was provided by the California Bird Records Committee (1999).    Our list differs slightly from  CBRC because we include species introduced to California that may or may not have stable populations (Garrett 1997, Jurek 1997).

Mammals   We used Williams (1998) as a basis for the occurrence of mammal species in California (Williams  1998).   With a few exceptions, nomenclatural conventions used were from Jones et al. (1997), a standardized list of mammal species in North America.  Jones et al. (1982, 1997), however, did not organize species within genera in a phylogenetic sequence because, for some genera, a meaningful phylogenetic hierarchy could not be created.    Although Jones' 1997 list is ordered alphabetically, we maintained the ordering of the 1982 list here, as this is the order used in the CWHR Version 7.0 database program.  Where sequences of subspecies occur, they have been arranged alphabetically.

Literature Cited:

American Ornithologists' Union.  1957.  Checklist of North American birds.  Fifth edition.  American Ornithologists' Union, Baltimore, MD.  691 pp.
American Ornithologists' Union.  1998.  The A.O.U. Checklist of North American birds.  Seventh edition.  American Ornithologists' Union, Washington D.C.  829 pp.
California Bird Records Committee.  1999.  California Bird List of the Western Field Ornithologists.
Collins, J.T., J.E. Huheey, J.L. Knight, and H.M. Smith.  1978.  Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles.  Second Edition.
            Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Misc. Publ., Herp. Circ. No. 7.
Collins, J.T., R. Conant, J.E. Huheey, J.L. Knight, E.M. Rundquist, and H.M. Smith.  1982.  Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians
            and reptiles.   Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Misc. Publ., Herp. Circ. No. 12.
Collins, J.T.  1990.  Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles.  Third Edition.  Society for the Study of Amphibians and
            Reptiles, Misc. Publ., Herp. Circ. No. 19.
Jennings, M.R.  1987.  Annotated checklist of the Amphibians and Reptiles of California, second edition.  Southwestern Herpetologists Society, Sp. Publ. No. 3.
Jennings, M.R.  1988.  Jennings' reply [to Joseph T. Collins' The SSAR common names list -- a response to Jennings].  Herpetology 18(3):11-13.
Jones, J.K., Jr., D.C. Carter, H.H. Genoways, R.S. Hoffman, and D.W. Rice.  1982.  Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico.  Occasional Papers,
            Museum, Texas Tech. University, No. 80.
Jones, C., R. S. Hoffman, D.W. Rice, M.D. Engstrom, R.D. Bradley, D.J. Schmidly, C.A. Jones and R.J. Baker. 1997.  Revised Checklist of North American mammals north
            of Mexico.  Occasional Papers, Museum, Texas Tech. University, No. 173.
Jurek, R.M.  1997.  List of established terrestrial vertebrates in California.  Calif. Dept. Fish & Game, Sacramento, CA.
Stebbins, R.C.  1985.  A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians.  Second Edition.  Houghton Miffin Co., Boston, MA. 336 pp.
Williams, D.F.  1998.  Checklist of California mammals.  California State University, Stanislaus.  Turlock, CA.

Last updated 26 October 2004