The coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) is a small non-migratory songbird. The coastal California gnatcatcher is the northernmost subspecies of the California gnatcatcher. It lives in and around coastal sage scrub. This songbird has black, gray, and white feathers, and eats mainly insects. It often lives alone but joins with other birds in winter groups. Its call sounds like a kitten meowing, a rising and falling zeeeeer, zeeeeer.
The coastal California gnatcatcher is a small songbird that measures 4.5 inches (11 cm) and weighs up to .2 ounces (6 grams). It has dark grey feathers on its back, and light gray and white feathers on its chest. The wings are brownish, and the long tail is mostly black with a few white outer feathers. Gnatcatchers have a thin, small bill and white eye rings. Male gnatcatchers develop a black cap during the summer that is not present in the winter months.
The diet of the coastal California gnatcatcher includes mostly insects. Some insects include ants, flies, moths, true bugs, beetles, caterpillars, and spiders.
California records show that the historic habitat of the Gnatcatcher was most likely Southern California. The rest of the population was in Baja California, Mexico.
The gnatcatcher is currently found in and around the coastal sage scrub. The gnatcatcher is non-migratory, and because of this it is only found in coastal southern California and northwestern Mexico. Its range in California includes Ventura and San Bernardino counties. Within North-Western Mexico, its range goes to El Rosario, although is mostly centered in Baja California.
The initial critical habitat was determined by a resolution in 2003, and it was then decreased by a revision done in 2007. This final revision includes 197,303 ac (79,846 ha) of land in San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Ventura Counties, California.