Finding Arizona’s Signature Birds
By Peg Abbott, Dodie Logue & Lynn Tennefoss, Portal, AZ
Southeast Arizona in the spring is a birder’s paradise. Mexican species flow across the border in April and May to court and nest in the stunning, mountainous sky islands, lush riparian zones, and remnant grasslands of Southeast Arizona, alongside resident species not seen further north. Complementing Arizona’s signature birds are lovely weather, nationally acclaimed lodges, and delicious food!
To help birders focus on specialty species of the area, Naturalist Journeys has recently updated a popular handout listing the 25 signature species by habitat, targeted by birders visiting the region. Additionally, a dozen more species seen a bit more broadly in Arizona and Texas and five highly-prized (though infrequent) specialties are listed along with five widely-recognized sub-species seen in the region. Enjoy our handy list of Arizona’s signature birds below.
Naturalist Journeys still has space available on a comprehensive tour of Southeast Arizona hotspots, from April 20 – 28, 2017. Find and observe the area’s avian specialties while you explore the spectacular landscape, and enjoy the fascinating cultural history of the area.
All accommodations, meals, guide services, and transportation are included for this nine-day, eight-night tour with guide Pat Lueders. Contact us today to share some of our most favorite birding hotspots and scenic vistas: firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-900-1146.
SIGNATURE BIRDS OF ARIZONA’S SKY ISLANDS
These species are top attractions to birders in our area.
*** Within the U.S., species generally limited in range to the Sky Islands of SE Arizona and for some, adjacent SW New Mexico. A few of these species are rare or local in West Texas.
** Within the U.S. these species may have a wider range than Signature designated species but still share a strong affinity with the Sky Islands or adjacent riparian or scrub habitats. Many are at the northern edge of their range.
+ TX These species are also regular breeders in the Sky Islands of West Texas.
25 SIGNATURE SPECIES
Main Occurrence: Pine Oak Woodland & Sycamore Canyons
1) Whiskered Screech-Owl ***
2) Broad-billed Hummingbird ***
3) Magnificent Hummingbird *** + TX
4) White-eared Hummingbird *** + TX, RARE
5) Berylline Hummingbird *** RARE
6) Elegant Trogon *** Sycamore canyons
7) Arizona Woodpecker ***
8) Greater Pewee **
9) Buff-breasted Flycatcher *** Open pine/grass
10) Dusky-capped Flycatcher **
11) Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher *** Sycamore riparian
12) Mexican Jay *** +TX
13) Mexican Chickadee *** Chiricahuas, Animas, Peloncillos
14) Bridled Titmouse ***
15) Olive Warbler ***
16) Red-faced Warbler ***
17) Yellow-eyed Junco ***
Main Occurrence: Drier & Lower Elevation Habitat
18) Buff-collared Nightjar *** LOCAL in SEAZ, scrub
19) Violet-crowned Hummingbird *** Scrub, riparian
20) Tropical Kingbird ** Riparian, often by ponds
21) Thick-billed Kingbird *** Sycamore riparian & scrub
22) Rose-throated Becard ** Sycamore Riparian
23) Black-capped Gnatcatcher *** LOCAL IN SEAZ, scrub
24) Rufous-winged Sparrow *** Scrub, grasslands
25) Five-striped Sparrow *** LOCAL in SEAZ, scrub
ADDITIONAL AFFINITY SPECIES
These species also attract birders to our region, but are not as limited within the USA to Southeast Arizona and Southwest New Mexico. They are generally as common in Madrean Oak Woodland of the Sky Islands of West Texas and their associated habitats: riparian, grassland or scrub.
Pine Oak Woodland
1) Zone-tailed Hawk ** +TX Mountain Canyons
2) Montezuma Quail ** +TX
3) Mexican Whip-poor-will ** +TX
4) Blue-throated Hummingbird ** +TX
5) Painted Redstart ** +TX
Grasslands, Scrub & Associated Riparian & Aquatic Habitats
6) Black-bellied Whistling-Duck ** + TX, aquatic
7) Common Black-Hawk ** + TX, riparian
8) Gray Hawk ** + TX, riparian
9) Lucifer Hummingbird ** + TX, scrub
10) Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet ** + So. TX, scrub
11) Botteri’s Sparrow ** + TX, scrub, grasslands
12) Baird’s Sparrow ** winter only, grasslands
13) Varied Bunting ** + TX, scrub
HIGHLY UNEXPECTED, BUT POSSIBLE:
1) Eared (Trogon) Quetzal VERY RARE
2) Blue Mockingbird VERY RARE
3) Crescent-chested Warbler VERY RARE
4) Yellow Grosbeak VERY RARE
WATCH FOR THESE Widely-recognized Subspecies:
1) (Mexican) Mallard
2) (Apache) Goshawk
3) Mexican Brown Creeper
4) (Brown-throated) House Wren
Naturalist Journeys, LLC also offers Guide Services in the Portal & Rodeo area.