Field Guides
Home Tours Guides News About Us FAQ Contact Us
Field Guides Tour Report
Arizona Nightbirds & More II 2019
May 9, 2019 to May 13, 2019
Cory Gregory

The desert landscape is stark but beautiful in southern Arizona. Gems tucked away in this landscape include California Gulch, Cave Creek, and other relatively lush ravines in the Chiricahuas. Our tour visited many of these sites in search of nightbirds and slowly but surely we pulled out these targets to all of our enjoyment. Photo by participant Joel Schmidt.

We said it time and time again... we felt really lucky! Target after target fell into place, we dodged storms here and there, but we were still rewarded with stunning looks at a wonderful variety of the nightbirds that Arizona has to offer. Even during the day, we were delighted to find goodies like Montezuma Quail, Elegant Trogon, and day-roosting Spotted Owls.

We hit the ground running and birded down in the California Gulch area on our first evening. We were met with awesome looks at the rare Five-striped Sparrow and, as dusk set in, we were treated to point-blank looks at Elf Owl and the rare Buff-collared Nightjar! What a beautiful spot to enjoy an evening.

We started the next day by visiting our little owl friend at the bank in Tucson. The Burrowing Owl was there waiting for us and may have even winked our way. As we wound our way east, we visited the ponds at Willcox which provided numerous waterbirds and shorebirds like a couple of Willets and a whole flock of Wilson's Phalaropes. Higher up, in the Chiricahuas, we found ourselves in the presence of a snoozing Spotted Owl! That night, we continued our streak of good luck by seeing a Flammulated Owl and Whiskered Screech-Owl near Portal.

The next day we birded in the famed Cave Creek where we enjoyed a number of Arizona specialties like Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Painted Redstart, and Hepatic Tanager. Closer to lunch time, we somehow stumbled on a pair of Montezuma Quail slowly walking up a roadside edge. Just a bit farther down the road, a Bobcat was seen strolling slowly across the road. What luck! That night we found ourselves in the flats below Portal where we added Barn Owl and a bunch of Lesser Nighthawks winging it over at dusk. Closer to Cave Creek, we even added Western Screech-Owl.

As morning broke in Portal, we were met with rare spring thunderstorms. Although we dodged storms the rest of the morning, we still found a beautiful male Elegant Trogon, said hello to our Whiskered Screech-Owl friend on its dayroost, enjoyed the hard-to-see Black-chinned Sparrow higher up in the mountainside scrub, and even found the local Buff-breasted Flycatcher in Pinery Canyon.

I want to thank all of you for coming along on this quick but productive tour through southeast Arizona. The nightbirds were ready and so were you! I know I had a blast and I hope you made lasting memories of our good time looking for owls, nightjars, and a whole lot more!

Until we meet again, good birding.

- Cory

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors) – This handsome little dabbler was spotted at Willcox along with a variety of other ducks.
CINNAMON TEAL (Spatula cyanoptera) – Like the previous species, this attractive teal was seen at Willcox on our second day of birding.
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata) – This is another dabbling duck that we tallied at the Willcox pond.
GADWALL (Mareca strepera) – Seen well, including the black backends, at Willcox.
AMERICAN WIGEON (Mareca americana) – A few of these attractive dabbling ducks were mixed in with the duck flock at Willcox on our second day.
MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos) – Seen at Willcox on Day 2.
MEXICAN DUCK (Anas diazi) – Recently given a full species status, this somewhat bland dabbler was seen at Willcox.
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (AMERICAN) (Anas crecca carolinensis) – This attractive duck, our smallest dabbler, was also seen at Willcox.
LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis) – It was a treat seeing this diving duck at Willcox; it's not an abundant bird on this tour.
RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis) – These bluebills were present in good numbers at Willcox on our way through on Day 2.

The oasis at Willcox had attracted a wealth of shorebirds, waterbirds, and songbirds during our visit. One of the shorebird highlights was this duo of Willets tucked away along the shoreline. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
SCALED QUAIL (Callipepla squamata) – We encountered a few of these on our second day around Willcox. They love the golf course there!
GAMBEL'S QUAIL (Callipepla gambelii) – Although we saw our first ones at Willcox, it was hard to beat the show at Bob's feeders in Portal! These quail were constantly jostling for position and access to the seed.
MONTEZUMA QUAIL (Cyrtonyx montezumae) – Goodness, what luck! We found a pair of these as we were driving down Cave Creek midday! We couldn't have planned it any better, we were just talking about finding them! It's always a treat to see this hard-to-find specialty.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo) – We encountered these big guys several times in the Chiricahuas.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis) – Starting to a show some nice spring colors, this little grebe species was seen at the Willcox pond.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Common in urban areas. [I]
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata) – A couple of these native pigeons were seen in Cave Creek and in Portal.
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) – Common in urban areas. We encountered quite a few in Portal as well. [I]
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca) – Our only encounter with this tiny, long-tailed dove was in the town of Portal where they were quite vocal.

The Buff-collared Nightjar is a very rare and hard-to-find nightbird here in the US. However, we were up to the challenge and came away with outstanding looks! Photo by participant Fred Dalbey.

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica) – Abundant throughout the trip.
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura) – Common in a variety of habitats. Tallied every day.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ROADRUNNER (Geococcyx californianus) – A couple of these classic, large ground-cuckoos were seen strolling around at the Willcox golf course area! It's always a pleasure to watch the antics of these tail-waving cuckoos.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis) – We had great success with this nightjar along the road below Portal one evening.
COMMON POORWILL (Phalaenoptilus nuttallii) – Quite a few of these were along the Portal-Paradise Road one evening. We also watched the eye-shine of one near California Gulch on our first evening.
BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJAR (Antrostomus ridgwayi) – A wonderful rarity, this special bird yielded stunning views near California Gulch on our first evening. That spot has been the only reliable location in the entire country lately for this hard-to-see species.
MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL (Antrostomus arizonae arizonae) – Easy to hear but hard to see! Still, we managed a couple of glimpses here and there in Cave Creek.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis) – A few of these gifted aerialists were seen shooting overhead as we birded in the South Fork of Cave Creek.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
RIVOLI'S HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens) – Formerly part of the Magnificent Hummingbird complex, this big hummingbird now has full species status. We saw them a couple of times including along the road near E. Turkey Creek Junction.
BLUE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Lampornis clemenciae) – Not uncommon in Cave Creek including in town and up South Fork. This is our largest regular hummingbird species in the US. The big white corners of the tail really stood out.

To see a Spotted Owl at all is a treat but we managed to see one during the day, at length, as it snoozed! Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri) – We had nice looks at Bob Rodrigues' feeders in Portal where they were one of two species present.
COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD (Calypte costae) – This was a nice surprise! One of these showed briefly but nicely at California Gulch on our first afternoon.
BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus platycercus) – We heard the buzzing of this species multiple times in the highlands but never connected with it visually. [*]
BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Cynanthus latirostris) – An abundant hummingbird on this tour; we tallied them daily. The red bill really stood out!
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana) – Common at Willcox.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – A tall, lanky, and distinctive shorebird. We saw these nicely at Willcox on our 2nd day.
AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana) – Like the previous species, this attractive wader was spotted at Willcox. Being in the breeding season, they had some nice color on the head and neck!
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus) – It wasn't hard to hear or see this noisy plover at Willcox during our visit there!
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus) – This was a great sighting to have on our short tour; one of these was slinking around in the muddy veg at Willcox.
WILSON'S PHALAROPE (Phalaropus tricolor) – About 40 of these swimming shorebirds were tallied at Willcox. Watching them spin in circles was dizzying!

Not all owls are fond of trees; some like to hang out in ditches in the middle of Tucson! Either way, we enjoyed watching this little Burrowing Owl on our first full morning. Photo by participant Joel Schmidt.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – There sure were plenty of these bobbing along the shoreline of Willcox during our visit; at least 15 were present.
WILLET (WESTERN) (Tringa semipalmata inornata) – It was nice seeing this large shorebird on the banks of the pond at Willcox. They looked rather tired out; they were content to sleep alongside the road.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – We were at the cattail marsh at Willcox when one of these sharp herons flew in and perched down below us. Cool!
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi) – The edges of the pond at Willcox were loaded with these dark ibis and we carefully looked through for vagrant Glossys.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Common, tallied daily.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii) – One of these bird-eating hawks flew high overhead at California Gulch on our evening visit there.
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni) – A graceful Buteo with nicely pointed wings. We encountered a few of these including a couple at Willcox on our first full day.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis) – This classic hawk was common and we saw them every day.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (AMERICAN) (Tyto alba pratincola) – Persistence paid off and we eventually found one of these via spotlight in the flats below Portal one night. The ghostly color and shape as it slowly flew around was most distinctive.
Strigidae (Owls)
FLAMMULATED OWL (Psiloscops flammeolus) – A notoriously hard bird to see well, luck was on our side and we ended up with incredible, face-to-face looks with this target species! Wahoo!

The smallest owl species in the world, the Elf Owl, sure did give us a good show near California Gulch on our first evening! Photo by participant Fred Dalbey.

WHISKERED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops trichopsis) – Whiskey sat nicely in its hole in Cave Creek; what a treat to get to see this so well during the day.
WESTERN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops kennicottii) – One of our night drives yielded this species near Portal. It was startling to turn on the light to find the bird mere feet from us!
GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus) – Wow, we got to enjoy a family of these huge owls right in downtown Portal! The nest was in a broken-off stump near the Post Office. [N]
ELF OWL (Micrathene whitneyi) – Our first evening to California Gulch was a magical one. This tiny owl, the smallest owl species in the world, was waiting for us and we ended up with looks that couldn't be beat.
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia) – A bank in downtown Tucson seemed like an odd place to see this small, ground-dwelling owl but that's where we saw it! Was it making a withdrawal or deposit? Hard to say!
SPOTTED OWL (MEXICAN) (Strix occidentalis lucida) – This big owl can be notoriously tricky to find but we had great looks, during the day no less, at the old Pinery Campground in the Chiricahuas.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
ELEGANT TROGON (Trogon elegans) – Whew! Our first attempt managed to hear one but it wasn't until our second visit to South Fork that we got to lay eyes on one. This singing male was heard by John Coons and his group, a big thanks to them for coming and getting us! We got scope views before the rain pushed us out.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus) – This clown-like woodpecker was fairly common during our time in the Chiricahuas.
LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER (Dryobates scalaris) – We had nice looks at one at Bob's feeders in Portal. This "desert Downy" has a black-and-white barred back.
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus) – We heard this species high in the Chiricahuas but it never came into view. [*]

We had a couple of tricks up our sleeves like where this Whiskered Screech-Owl liked to snooze during the day. "Whiskey", as it's been called, was present and we enjoyed repeated looks at it. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

NORTHERN FLICKER (RED-SHAFTED) (Colaptes auratus cafer) – Quite common once we got up to the higher elevations in the Chiricahuas. We had multiple looks in Pinery Canyon and South Fork. The male of this subspecies has a red moustachial stripe, not black like the Yellow-shafted.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius) – We passed by a couple of these small falcons on fences and power lines during our drives to/from the Chiricahuas.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma imberbe) – One sat nicely for us in downtown Portal during our stroll there. This is the smallest flycatcher here in the US.
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus) – The sounds of this common species were heard repeatedly during our time in the mountains. South Fork and Pinery Canyon both had these flycatchers singing and sallying out from high perches.
CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax occidentalis) – A fairly vocal species, this yellowish-green Empid was spotted at South Fork and again at the Southwestern Research Station.
BUFF-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax fulvifrons) – A regional specialty, this cute little Empid was seen on its territory at Pinery Canyon on our final day.
SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya) – This buffy-bellied flycatcher was first seen from the Texas Canyon Rest Area on our first full day. We went on to see them every day after.
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus) – Wow, what a stunner! This vibrant flycatcher was rather common for us on this tour and our first one showed nicely en route to California Gulch.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – This Myiarchus was fairly common in South Fork and other areas in the Chiricahuas. The melancholy call note they give was a common sound.

Near Portal one night, this little Western Screech-Owl came in and looked us right in the eye! What a fun encounter and it was nicely captured by participant Fred Dalbey.

BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – This big and big-billed western Myiarchus was seen nicely in Portal.
SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes luteiventris) – We lucked into a silent individual in South Fork before the rain hit. This regional specialty had just arrived back on the breeding grounds.
CASSIN'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus vociferans) – Fairly common throughout our tour in the hilly foothill regions. The darker gray head contrasts nicely with the bright white throat.
WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis) – Quite a few of these were waiting for us at the Willcox golf course. This species has white outer tail feathers, which are often very distinctive.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus) – How cool was this? A family group was all sitting together at the Willcox golf course!
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BELL'S VIREO (ARIZONA) (Vireo bellii arizonae) – This sneaky species was heard singing at the end of the road in Portal. [*]
HUTTON'S VIREO (INTERIOR) (Vireo huttoni stephensi) – A rather drab vireo, this kinglet-look-alike was spotted at South Fork and again at the research station.
PLUMBEOUS VIREO (Vireo plumbeus) – The burry song of this gray vireo was fairly commonplace during our time in the mountains. This species was once considered part of the Solitary Vireo complex.
WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus) – Seen a couple of times including in South Fork and again at the Southwestern Research Station up the road.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri) – Only one or two of these attractive western jays were seen, mostly near the Onion Saddle on our final day.

The Flammulated Owl is a notoriously difficult owl to see well but the stars must have aligned for us because this one provided views like we never expected. Fantastic! Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

MEXICAN JAY (Aphelocoma wollweberi) – A common species in the Chiricahuas.
COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax) – This huge Corvid was tallied every day in a variety of habitats.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) – Just one or two were seen with the swallow flock at Willcox on our first full day.
TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor) – A few of these blue-backed swallows were seen at Willcox as well. This species only winters here and these were late migrants.
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina) – A swarm of these western swallows were seen in flight over the South Fork of Cave Creek during one of our visits.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – A sleek, fork-tailed swallow, this familiar species was the most common swallow we saw at Willcox.
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
MEXICAN CHICKADEE (Poecile sclateri) – A little group of these cute specialties came in overhead while we were in Pinery Canyon. The Chiricahuas are the main place people get this species in the US.
BRIDLED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus wollweberi) – A nicely-patterned titmouse found only in the Southwest. We found them in South Fork and then at a few stops higher up in the Chiricahuas.
Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
BUSHTIT (INTERIOR) (Psaltriparus minimus plumbeus) – A friendly little gray species, these were seen on the scrubby slopes of the Chiricahuas a couple of times.

The award for the largest owl of the trip went to this family of Great Horned Owls that were nesting in downtown Portal! Photo by participant Fred Dalbey.

Sittidae (Nuthatches)
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (INTERIOR WEST) (Sitta carolinensis nelsoni) – We saw these in Cave Creek and again in Portal where they visited a few feeders. This subspecies could be split out as a distinct species someday.
PYGMY NUTHATCH (Sitta pygmaea) – In the higher coniferous forests, like at Pinery Canyon and Barfoot Park, this flock-loving nuthatch came in overhead several times.
Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
BROWN CREEPER (ALBESCENS/ALTICOLA) (Certhia americana albescens) – Although it only looks like a moving piece of bark, this little species was still spotted a few times in Cave Creek.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
CANYON WREN (Catherpes mexicanus) – Joel turned into our local expert on Canyon Wrens; he was always dialed into them! Sometimes he spotted them right outside our lodge in Portal where they looked to be feeding young.
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) – Fairly common during our time in the Chiricahuas where their songs were one of the most common sounds we heard.
BEWICK'S WREN (MEXICANUS GROUP) (Thryomanes bewickii eremophilus) – Although not uncommon, it was tough crossing paths with this western wren. We did so in California Gulch and Portal.
CACTUS WREN (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) – Our largest wren in the US, this noisy species was first seen at Willcox and again at Bob's feeders in Portal.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea) – With a wheezy song, this tiny gray species was swinging its long tail around on the slopes below Onion Saddle in the Chiricahuas.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
WESTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia mexicana) – Seen only once near Onion Saddle.
HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus) – A beautiful songster, this thrush was also eventually seen in Cave Creek.

One of the rarest birds we enjoyed on our trip was this Five-striped Sparrow in California Gulch. We were even able to count the stripes! Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius) – A montane species in the Chiricahuas, this familiar thrush was tallied every day we were there.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
CURVE-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma curvirostre) – A common species in the dry scrub around Tucson, Willcox, and Portal.
CRISSAL THRASHER (Toxostoma crissale) – A tough species to see, this sneaky thrasher was heard singing at dusk out near California Gulch. [*]
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos) – Common, tallied every day.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) – Seen in urban areas. [I]
Bombycillidae (Waxwings)
CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum) – We had a singleton sitting in a tree by our lodge in Portal one morning. It seemed strange to see it by itself as this species is often seen in noisy flocks.
Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)
PHAINOPEPLA (Phainopepla nitens) – A glossy black bird with striking white in the wings; one of these was seen en route to California Gulch.
Peucedramidae (Olive Warbler)
OLIVE WARBLER (Peucedramus taeniatus) – It was tough trying to find this bird this year. We did hear a distant one from Barfoot Park though. [*]
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus) – Common and widespread, especially at Bob's feeders in Portal.
PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus) – Good numbers of these small finches were in Portal at spots like Bob's feeders and a couple other feeder setups.

Another attractive sparrow we added to our list was this Rufous-crowned Sparrow that popped up along a roadside. Photo by participant Fred Dalbey.

LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria) – Not uncommon in California Gulch and the confluence area. We saw this dark-backed finch at Bob's feeders as well.
Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)
CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina) – A few of these were feeding on the ground at the Southwestern Research Station during our break there.
BLACK-CHINNED SPARROW (Spizella atrogularis) – A specialty we don't often get on this tour, this attractive little sparrow was seen nicely on the scrubby slopes of the Chiricahuas as we drove up towards Onion Saddle.
BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (Amphispiza bilineata) – A very handsome sparrow! Bob's feeders in Portal had a nice selection feeding right in front of us.
FIVE-STRIPED SPARROW (Amphispiza quinquestriata) – Our very first stop of the tour was at California Gulch. A short ways down the gulch we ended up with fantastic looks at this highly-specialized rare species. Most years, this gulch is the only place in the US where one can find this big and dark sparrow.
YELLOW-EYED JUNCO (Junco phaeonotus) – This range-restricted species is found in the higher-elevation forests of the Sky Islands we visited. They were especially common around Onion Saddle, Barfoot Park, and Pinery Canyon.
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (ORIANTHA) (Zonotrichia leucophrys oriantha) – A few of these had moved in at Bob's feeders where they were common. This is the dark-lored subspecies (the pale-lored subspecies, gambelli, had already moved out).
CANYON TOWHEE (Melozone fusca) – One of these chunky towhees came in to Bob Rodrigues' feeders in Portal during our visit.
RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW (Aimophila ruficeps) – A grass and rock-loving species especially fond of slopes. We had great looks at California Gulch.
GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE (Pipilo chlorurus) – A few folks had a quick glimpse of one at the California Gulch/confluence area on our first day.

The Lazuli Bunting is surely one of the most attractive western species. Lucky for us, they were attending feeders in Portal and we got to enjoy great looks. Photo by participant Fred Dalbey.

SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus) – A common species in the scrub on the slopes of the Chiricahuas. Many years ago, these were lumped with Eastern Towhees and called Rufous-sided Towhees.
Icteriidae (Yellow-breasted Chat)
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT (Icteria virens) – One of these fun birds came in to the suet at Bob's feeders in Portal. Who knew! These were recently pulled out of the warbler family and placed in the monotypic Icteriidae family.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) – Quite a few of these were seen at the golf course at Willcox.
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (LILIAN'S) (Sturnella magna lilianae) – The meadowlarks we saw were actually Eastern Meadowlarks despite us being pretty far west! The Lilian's subspecies breeds there in the grasslands below Portal.
HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus) – Fairly common throughout our trip. We even saw them right outside our hotel in Tucson.
BULLOCK'S ORIOLE (Icterus bullockii) – A few visited feeders in Portal. This species used to be lumped with Baltimore Oriole and called Northern Oriole.
SCOTT'S ORIOLE (Icterus parisorum) – We spied one of these on a fence in the grasslands below Pinery Canyon as we drove west out of the Chiricahuas on our final day.
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus) – A familiar species, these were seen at Willcox on our first full day.
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus) – One of these red-eyed cowbirds was seen in Portal during our walk there. These have a big, thick-necked appearance.
BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD (Molothrus ater) – Fairly common, these were seen at Willcox and again around Portal.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – A couple dozen of these long-tailed Icterids were seen around the pond and golf course at Willcox.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (Oreothlypis celata) – Our only sighting was at Barfoot Park high in the Chiricahuas.
LUCY'S WARBLER (Oreothlypis luciae) – A mesquite-loving, somewhat bland warbler. These were quite common around Portal. This species of warbler actually nests in cavities, a fairly unique attribute for warblers.
MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER (Geothlypis tolmiei) – One was heard singing downhill from near E. Turkey Creek Junction but it stayed out of view. [*]
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas) – This marsh-loving warbler popped out a few times at the cattail wetland at Willcox.

Some sparrows are downright tricky to cross paths with. One such species is the Black-chinned Sparrow. We had good luck with this attractive Spizella on the slopes above Cave Creek. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – A lovely songster, these were common around our lodge in Portal.
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (MYRTLE) (Setophaga coronata coronata) – This subspecies has a bright white throat that curls back around the cheek. We saw one at the Willcox pond during our quick check.
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (AUDUBON'S) (Setophaga coronata auduboni) – At least one of these was spotted at Cave Creek when we birded South Fork. These have yellow throats most of the time.
GRACE'S WARBLER (Setophaga graciae) – This yellow-throated western warbler was seen at both Barfoot Park and Pinery Canyon in the Chiricahuas.
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Setophaga nigrescens) – A western warbler that wasn't uncommon at spots like Cave Creek and up the slopes of the Chiricahuas.
TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi) – This yellow and black warbler was seen a few times in the Chiricahuas at spots like South Fork and up towards Onion Saddle. This is a migrant species that was headed for the breeding grounds.
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) – At least one of these black-capped warblers was seen in the South Fork of Cave Creek.
RED-FACED WARBLER (Cardellina rubrifrons) – What a gorgeous bird! One of these was seen nicely at Pinery Canyon on our second day of birding. It scampered off pretty quickly though.
PAINTED REDSTART (Myioborus pictus) – Seeing this colorful warbler is usually treat enough. However, we were lucky to watch one landing at our feet to collect nesting material!
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava) – This attractive tanager was seen every day once we made it to the Chiricahuas. Pinery Canyon hosted our first one.

It wouldn't be a trip to southeastern Arizona without this little gem, the bold and beautiful Painted Redstart! In fact, we even got to watch this bird gathering nesting material. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – Fairly common around California Gulch and again in Portal.
WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana) – There was no shortage of these nice tanagers at spots like California Gulch, Portal, and the Onion Saddle area.
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis) – Fairly common throughout our time in the lowlands.
PYRRHULOXIA (Cardinalis sinuatus) – It was a treat getting to compare this species with the cardinals at Bob Rodrigues' feeders in Portal. These two are in the same Cardinalis genus.
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus) – A handsome western species, these were common in Portal and the Cave Creek area.
LAZULI BUNTING (Passerina amoena) – What a beautiful western bunting! Bob's feeders in Portal were graced with this nicely-colored species.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Tallied daily, often in urban areas. [I]

DESERT COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus audubonii) – Seen daily in the lower elevation regions.
BLACK-TAILED JACKRABBIT (Lepus californicus) – A couple of these bounced by during our time in the Chiricahuas. Stateline Road below Portal was loaded with them one night.
CLIFF CHIPMUNK (Tamias dorsalis) – These cute little guys were coming in to seed scattered on the ground in Portal.

Our trip had just begun when we paused to take this group photo at the interesting Texas Canyon rest area. But by this point, we had already seen several awesome nightbirds the night before! Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

ROCK SQUIRREL (Spermophilus variegatus) – Fairly common, often seen on the ground, rock piles, or sometimes fence posts.
MEXICAN FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus nayaritensis) – A fairly range-restricted specialty of the Chiricahuas! One of these was seen in Cave Creek at one point.
WHITE-THROATED WOOD-RAT (Neotoma albigula) – The big-eared rat that darted out to the feeders at Bob Rodrigues' yard was this species, often known as Pack Rats.
GRAY FOX (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) – This canine was spotted after dark on two back-to-back days.
NORTHERN RACCOON (Procyon lotor) – One of our night drives yielded a couple of these rummaging around along a roadside.
BOBCAT (Lynx rufus) – Woah! It's not every day you get to turn a corner and find one of these lanky cats milling about on a road! We stumbled on one of these up Cave Creek one afternoon.
COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu) – We startled a few of these out of their roadside vegetation one night.
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) – Common and widespread in the Chiricahuas.


Totals for the tour: 149 bird taxa and 11 mammal taxa