Today’s photos come from ecologist Susan Harrison at UC Davis. Her captions are indented, and you can enlarge the pictures by clicking on them.
Southeastern Arizona (part 1)
Sooner or later, a U.S. birdwatcher must go to Southeastern Arizona. That’s because dozens of Mexican and Central American bird species make it just across the international border into the tree-lined canyons of Arizona’s Chiricahua Mts., Huachuca Mts., and other small north-south oriented mountain ranges. Many of these birds are as dazzlingly colorful as you’d expect from their mainly tropical and subtropical distributions.
In August 2023 I made my pilgrimage to see these species. Today I’ll show the most localized species, and next time I’ll show some of the ones that also range east into south Texas, west to the California deserts, and/or north to the Great Basin deserts.
First, a habitat shot of a canyon in the Chiricahua Mts.:
Next, the region’s most fabled bird, the Elegant Trogon (Trogon elegans):
Hummingbird diversity is perhaps the region’s greatest claim to fame besides Trogons. Over a dozen species can be regularly found here! The technique for seeing them is to visit small eco-lodges and visitor centers where feeders have been set up. Here are four species:
Rivoli’s Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens):
White-Eared Hummingbird (Basilinna leucotis):
Violet-Crowned Hummingbird (Leucolia violiceps):
Lucifer Hummingbird (Calothorax lucifer):
Other colorful denizens include these warblers –
Red-Faced Warbler (Cardellina rubifrons):
Rufous-Capped Warbler (Basileuterus rufifrons):
Some Southeastern Arizonan birds are close southern relatives of birds that are familiar elsewhere in the U.S. Here are four examples:
Mexican Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis lucida), found in pine and fir forests at higher elevations, closely related to and just as threatened as the Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina). This roosting pair is grooming each other’s facial feathers. My title for this photo is “Get a room, owls!”: