río embudo birds

Learning the Birds of the Río Embudo


Common All-year Residents (23 Species)

You are likely to be familiar with many of these birds. Some of the smaller birds may not be as familiar.

When you are out walking along the river or your own fields or yard, you are probably hearing these birds.

If you will spend a little time trying to spot a bird you are only hearing, you will soon know not only what the bird looks like, but its sounds as well.


English Name:
Genus species:
CommentsPhotos
Swans, Geese and Ducks
Mallard
Anas platyrhynchos


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Note white horizontal mark at rear on both Female (above)

and

Male (below).

Male plumage distinctive.

Rinconada

Rinconada
Long-legged Wading Birds
Great Blue Heron
Ardea herodias


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Only Winter Heron.

Large, often standing in water.

In flight: 72" wingspan.

El Bosque

El Bosque
Diurnal Raptors: Vultures, Eagles, Hawks and Falcons
Red-tailed Hawk
Buteo jamaicensis


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Often easily identified by visible red tail.

If tail is not visible, other field marks can be used:

From below in flight, the dark front edges of the wings next to the body and the dark "commas" at the wrist are unique among local hawks.



When perched, the dark belly band against the white front is diagnostic.


Juveniles (lowest photo) do not yet have a red tail.

El Bosque

El Bosque

Camino Lejo, Santa Fe
Pigeons and Doves
Rock Pigeon
Columba livia


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Common on wires around human habitation, this species comes in a variety of colors.

Most individuals show two dark wing bars as shown in the upper photo.

Cañoncito

El Bosque
Woodpeckers
Downy Woodpecker
Picoides pubescens


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Almost identical to the Hairy Woodpecker in plumage, this smaller woodpecker is generally distinguished by its diminuitive bill which is much shorter than the bird's head from front to back.

The red patch on the head indicates that this is a male.

El Bosque
Northern Flicker
Colaptes auratus


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One of the most common birds in the valley.

From below, shows red feather shafts in flight.

The upper photo shows key marks:

Black breast band.
Red feather shafts on underside of wings and tail.

Red mark under the eye indicates a male.

Female (middle photo): no red face mark.

Lower photo shows diagnostic white rump patch which is always visible in flight and sometimes visible when perched.

Cachanillas

El Bosque

El Bosque
Jays, Crows and their Allies
Western Scrub-Jay
Aphelocoma californica


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Common in all area habitats.

Note white throat and faint white eyebrow.
Also brownish-gray back.

Distinguished from the Pinyon Jay by longer tail and solitary behavior.

Arroyo la Mina

Cañoncito
Pinyon Jay
Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus


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Usually observed while calling in flight.

Flocks feed in harvested corn fields or on Piñon-Juniper Hillsides

Generally in flocks of 30-70 individuals.

Distinguished from Western Scrub-jay by shorter tail and by flocking behavior.

Apodaca

Apodaca

Apodaca
Black-billed Magpie
Pica hudsonia


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Unmistakable large black and white bird with very long tail.
El Bosque
American Crow
Corvus brachyrhynchos


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At times difficult to distinguish from Common Raven as the largest Crows are nearly as big as the smallest Ravens.

By sound, the crow's "caw" is familiar.

In flight, the crow's tail is often square or rounded.

Crows are very social and often appear in noisy groups.

Bill smaller and thinner than that of the Raven.

El Bosque
Common Raven
Corvus corax


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At times difficult to distinguish from American Crow.

By sound, a throaty chortle or shout.

In flight, the tail often appears wedge shaped.

Ravens are often solitary, but sometimes appear with a few other individuals.

Often soars like a hawk. Crows do not.

Bill is thick and heavy. The throat is shaggy compared to the Crow.

Breeding pairs perform synchronized flight high overhead.

El Bosque

Camino de los Marquez, Santa Fe
Chickadees and their Allies
Black-capped Chickadee
Poecile atricapillus


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Distinctive Small (~5in) black, white and gray bird that says its name repeatedly: a buzzy chick-a-dee-dee-dee

During breeding season, gives a high descending two pitched
fee-bee.

El Bosque
Bushtit
Psaltriparus minimus


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Tiny (~4in) plain gray bird.

Usually travels in groups of 10-20 individuals, constantly moving from bush to bush feeding.

Flocking birds constantly make varied twittering sounds.

Camino Lejo, Santa Fe
Nuthatches and Creepers
White-breasted Nuthatch
Sitta carolinensis


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Distinctive black cap starts above the eye.

Relatively long, sharp bill.

Only local species that walks down tree trunks upside down.

Often heard at a distance: Rapidly repeated nasal "huh". Usually 5-8 sounds, all at same pitch.

El Bosque

El Bosque
Dippers
American Dipper
Cinclus mexicanus


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Slate-colored bird seen in rushing streams.

Often standing on rocks right at the water level, bobbing by bending its knees.

Feeds by walking on the bottom of the stream.

El Bosque

See Slide Show of Dipper Feeding
Thrushes and their Allies
Western Bluebird
Sialia mexicana


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Male (top photo) has blue head and red breast.

During breeding season, colors more intense than shown here.

Female (lower photo) has blue in wings, but appears gray from front with a light buffy breast.
Note white eye-ring.

El Bosque

El Bosque
American Robin
Turdus migratorius


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Best known American Bird.

Note reddish breast, light colored bill and large white split eye-ring.

El Bosque
Starlings and Mynas
European Starling
Sturnus vulgaris


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Usually appears black.

Often seen flying in large flocks. Flocks move very quickly, changing directions often.

Very short tail is distinctive among "blackbirds".

Note bright yellow bill.

El Bosque
Towhees
Spotted Towhee
Pipilo maculatus


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One is seldom far from a Spotted Towhee. But though they are nearby, they are usually hidden away under trees and shrubs where they toss leaves with their feet looking for insects to eat.

Occasionally you will see one at the edge of the road or briefly flying from one shrub to the next.

However, they regularly produce a contact call, a low growl.
Hear Contact Call

If you listen for that call and follow it, may be rewarded with a view of this lovely bird with a red eye.

Note white breast with rufous (reddish) flanks.

Lower Photo shows bird in its preferred habitat.

Arroyo la Mina

El Bosque Enlarge
Canyon Towhee
Pipilo fuscus


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Often seen around wood piles and under parked cars.

Note the buffy cap on head and buffy feathers under the tail.

Dark central spot visible on breast.

La Bolsa
Sparrows and their Allies
Song Sparrow
Melospiza melodia


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This sparrow is rarely seen more than 50 yards from the river and is often right in the willows at the river's edge.

Dark back, with streaks on breasts and sides joining a dark central spot.

Has a distinctive flight highlighted by a fairly long, rounded tail.

El Bosque
Finches and Old World Sparrows
House Finch
Carpodacus mexicanus


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Often seen at feeders, this species is common in all habitats, especially agricultural areas.

Male (upper picture) is easily identified by red plumage on head, throat, breast and rump.

Female (lower photo) does not have red.

Both sexes have streaking on breast, belly and flanks.

Arroyo La Mina

Arroyo La Mina
House Sparrow
Passer domesticus


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Common across the continental U.S., this species is generally found around human habitation.

The female (upper picture) is fairly plain with a weak, white eyebrow.

The male (lower picture) has black on the throat, a strong dark mask: often black in front of eye, reddish-brown (rufous) behind the eye.

Often in noisy flocks of 5-15 individuals.

Embudo Valley Library, Dixon

Nob Hill, Albuquerque

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