What You May See on Bird Trek Arizona

(Species of Birds Grouped by Extent of Breeding Range in U.S.)

Seeing a species of bird for the first time is a quantum leap in life experience. I know you want to take many quantum leaps on this trip, so I have divided the breeding species we have a chance of seeing, or at least hearing in the case of the night birds, into five groups based on their specificity to Southeastern Arizona. We will focus on them in the order presented below. Of course we will try to see as many species as possible, even pausing to enjoy the many migrants that will be passing through while we are there.


1. Invading Species

Very limited in distribution in AZ and the US

2. Borderland Specialties

Found mostly south of I-10

3. Southwestern Species

Breeding mostly south of 37 N. Latitude

4. Western Species

Breeding mostly west of 100 W. Longitude

5. Widespread Species

Breeding in eastern and western North America.

1. Invading Species

Very limited in distribution in AZ and the US

Short-tailed Hawk, Buff-collared Nightjar, Berylline Hummingbird, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, White-eared Hummingbird, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Green Kingfisher, Tufted Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Thick-billed Kingbird, Rose-throated Becard, Sinaloa Wren, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Rufous-backed Robin, Rufous-capped Warbler, Slate-throated Redstart, Five-striped Sparrow, Flame-colored Tanager

This list is based on species that are found every year, and those ultra-rarities that were present in May of 2018. All of these species are extremely rare, but several of them will be "staked out," meaning their whereabouts will be known. If last year is a guide, we will have good chances at the kingbirds, the Violet-crowned Hummingbird, and the becard, but several others are quite possible. It will be exciting to see how many of them we get, although some are usually found outside the area we will traverse.

2. Borderland Specialties

Found mostly south of I-10

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Gray Hawk, Whiskered Screech-Owl, Blue-throated Hummingbird, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Northern Pygmy-Owl (Mountain), Elegant Trogon, Arizona Woodpecker, Crested Caracara, Norther Beardless-Tyrannulet, Greater Pewee, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Mexican Jay, Mexican Chickadee, Olive Warbler, Painted Redstart, Rufous-winged Sparrow, Yellow-eyed Junco, Varied Bunting, Bronzed Cowbird

We will see or hear almost all of these. They are the focus of our trip and our route is designed to bring us into contact with all of them, except perhaps the Caracara, which is much more likely west of our area. The "Mountain Pygmy-Owl" is vocally distinct from individuals of Glaucidium gnoma in the rest of the U.S. and Canada.

3. Southwestern Species

Breeding mostly south of 37 N. Latitude

"Mexican" Duck, Scaled Quail, Gambel's Quail, Montezuma Quail, Neotropic Cormorant, White-tailed Kite, Harris's Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Inca Dove, White-winged Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Elf Owl, Lesser Nighthawk, Mexican Whip-poor-will, Rivoli's Hummingbird, Anna's Hummingbird, Costa's Hummingbird, Gila Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Gilded Flicker, Vermilion Flycatcher, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Cassin's Kingbird, Chihuahuan Raven, Bridled Titmouse, Verdin, Cactus Wren, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Curve-billed Thrasher, Bendire's Thrasher, Crissal Thrasher, Phainopepla, Grace's Warbler, Red-faced Warbler, Botteri's Sparrow, Black-chinned Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow, Canyon Towhee, Abert's Towhee, Hepatic Tanager, Pyrrhuloxia, Hooded Oriole, Scott's Oriole,

We will encounter most of these without too much effort. Raptors always require a bit of luck, and the kite is unlikely. Bendire's Thrasher, Botteri's Sparrow, and Black-chinned Sparrow will be harder than most of the others.

4. Western Species

Breeding mostly west of 100 W. Longitude

White-faced Ibis, Swainson's Hawk, Band-tailed Pigeon, Flammulated Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Spotted Owl, Common Poorwill, White-throated Swift, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Acorn Woodpecker, Prairie Falcon, Western Wood-Pewee, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Say's Phoebe, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Bell's Vireo, Hutton's Vireo, Plumbeous Vireo, Steller's Jay, Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay, Violet-green Swallow, Mountain Chickadee, Juniper Titmouse, Bushtit, White-breasted Nuthatch (Interior West), Pygmy Nuthatch, Rock Wren, Canyon Wren, Bewick's Wren, Western Bluebird, Virginia's Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's), Black-throated Gray Warbler, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Bullock's Oriole, Great-tailed Grackle, Lesser Goldfinch

Other than the raptors, we should easily encounter almost all of these. Blue font indicates subspecies that deserve species status. I will explain why in a chalk talk.

5. Widespread Species

Breeding in eastern and western North America.

Mallard, Ruddy Duck, Wild Turkey, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Golden Eagle, Mississippi Kite, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Coot, Spotted Sandpiper, Forster's Tern, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Mourning Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Burrowing Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Common Nighthawk, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Loggerhead Shrike, Warbling Vireo, Common Raven, Horned Lark, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, House Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Grasshopper Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Yellow-breasted Chat, Summer Tanager, Northern Cardinal, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Eastern Meadowlark, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Evening Grosbeak, House Finch, Red Crossbill, Pine Siskin, House Sparrow

Some of these are common in southeastern Arizona, some are not. We will focus on the ones with distinctive local populations, indicated by the blue font.

Highlights of Bird Trek Arizona 2019