As part of our on-going series related to the International Year of Biodiversity, we'll take a closer look at conservation status and occasionally highlight species in each rank. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources is the primary global organization responsible for risk assessment organizes threat in 8 categories--Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, Conservation Dependent, near Threatened, and Least Concerned.
Pictured above, we have the Oklahoma State bird, the scissor-tailed flycatcher, or Tyrannus forficatus, first described in 1789. They aggressively defend their territories against intrusions by conspecifics and in the spring, a flamboyant performance with their long scissor-like tail, is part of the courtship dance. Such self-assertive behavior has served this bird well; it's squarely situated in the Least Concern ranking for threat of extinction, so generations to come can enjoy this fascinating species.