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Because the mountains of southeastern Arizona are a northern extension of the Sierra Madres of Mexico, there are a remarkable number of birds here that are not found in other parts of the United States. Most are in the following list:

Black-bellied Whistling Duck -- Irregular at ponds.

"Mexican Duck" -- Wherever there is a pond or a flooded field.

Common Black-Hawk -- In cottonwoods along streams--usually north of Tucson.

Harris Hawk -- In desert scrub. They sometimes are seen perched atop telephone poles.   See Picture.

Gray Hawk -- Streamside at lower elevations, especially near Patagonia or along the San Pedro River.

Zone-tailed Hawk -- It looks like a turkey vulture. It flies like a turkey vulture. It often hangs around with the turkey vultures. Look above and in front of the cliffs. The tail is banded. If a "turkey vulture" suddenly goes into a stoop or a dive, you may have found your bird.

Montezuma Quail -- It takes luck to find this one. Best chance is along roadsides in the foothills.

Flammulated Owl -- Common in pines and in wooded canyons, but difficult to see. Gives a single soft hoot.


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Whiskered Screech Owl --Common in wooded canyons. Often seen at campgrounds. Sometimes it hoots in a rhythm that sounds like Morse Code.


Ferruginous Pygmy Owl -- Rare and localized. You will need help to find it, if there is one around to find.

Elf Owl -- In deserts and in the lower parts of canyons. Common in early summer. They cackle.

Spotted Owl -- You will need help finding this one. Some tour guide may be able to give you an excellent look.

Buff-Collared Nightjar -- Very rare. If it's not mentioned on the Tucson Rare Bird Alert, you probably won't find it.

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Many Species of Hummingbirds -- (Visit our Hummingbird Site to see all of them! Since the Hummingbird Web Site has many pages, you might want to bookmark this page before you leave, so you can find your way back.)

Elegant Trogon -- Southeast Arizona's most famous bird. Found in wooded canyons, especially at Madera Canyon in the Santa Ritas and at Cave Creek Canyon in the Chiricahuas. The best way to find it is to listen for it. It croaks like a frog. More Information. trogon-head2.jpg (8685 bytes)

Eared Trogon -- Rare and irregular. Usually a ways up in the canyons or in pine trees. Usually found by someone recognizing its distinctive call, which is entirely unlike the call of the Elegant Trogon. More Information.

Strickland's Woodpecker -- Fairly common in wooded canyons.

Northern Beardless Tyrannulet -- Relatively rare and somewhat irregular in lower parts of canyons. It is small and difficult to identify, as it doesn't particularly look like a flycatcher. The best clue is its distinctive song: Peer, peer, peer, peer.

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Greater Pewee -- Fairly common at higher elevations. More often heard than seen. It says, "Jose, Maria!'

Buff-Breasted Flycatcher-- Rare and localized in pines. You will probably need specific instructions to find it.

Dusky-Capped Flycatcher -- Common in wooded canyons. It sings a simple, melancholy song that is heard often.

Brown-Crested Flycatcher -- Can be common in lower parts of canyons. brown-crested2.jpg (6263 bytes)

Sulphur-Bellied Flycatcher -- Fairly common in wooded canyons. Squeaks like a rubber squeeze toy.

Tropical Kingbird -- In large trees near water, close to the Mexican border.

Thick-Billed Kingbird -- In large trees near water, close to the Mexican border.

Rose-Throated Becard -- Very localized. Maybe at the Roadside Rest Area in Patagonia. Maybe nowhere.

Mexican Jay -- Very easy to see in wooded canyons. Sometimes a colony of these birds will escort you as you walk through their territory.

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Mexican Chickadee -- Only found at higher elevations in the Chiricahuas, but common there and usually easy to find.

Bridled Titmouse -- Common in wooded canyons.

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Black-Capped Gnatcatcher-- Very rare and localized. You may need a guide and a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Bendire's Thrasher -- Localized. Find at lower elevations. You will probably need a hot tip from someone or a bird-finding guide.

Crissal Thrasher-- Common but difficult to see in underbrush at lower elevations. Local birders almost always find it by call: purtle, purtle.

Grace's Warbler -- Probably high in a pine tree. Its loud song rises in pitch.

Red-Faced Warbler -- At higher elevations, especially in or around Gamble's Oak. Gives a thin, sweet warble.

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Painted Redstart -- Common in wooded canyons. Easy to find. This beautiful bird sings loudly and is often seen near the ground. Be sure to watch how it fans its tail and wings.

Rufous-Capped Warbler -Very Rare. Nests in French Joe Canyon.  One sighting recently in the Chiricahuas.

Photo by Richard Webster

Olive Warbler -- In Ponderosa Pines. With some patience you can find it.

Hepatic Tanager -- In wooded canyons. Fairly common.

Yellow Grosbeak -- Extremely rare , so don't get your hopes up and don't be fooled by a Western Tanager or an Evening Grosbeak flying across the road.

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Varied Bunting -- Localized in low brushy areas near the Mexican border.

Canyon Towhee -- Abundant in lower parts of canyons.

Abert's Towhee -- Uncommon in brush near streams at lower elevations.

Botteri's Sparrow -- In grassland.

Rufous-Winged Sparrow -- In brush and grassy areas near Tucson.

Five-Striped Sparrow -- Rare and local near Mexican border. You will probably not find it without luck and help.

Yellow-Eyed Junco -- Common at higher elevations--often on or near the ground. A delightful bird with satanic eyes.

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