TLT Bird ID Sounds Review (June, 2021)

Family Names in Black. Species Names in Turqouise.

Descriptions of sounds are given for most species.
Click on species name to go to All About Birds account for that species.
The green "listen" button provides the most common sounds.
Click on the Sounds menu item to get extensive recordings for each species.

Swans, Geese and Ducks


Female gives a traditional "quack".

Canada Goose

Familiar loud honks.

Blue-winged Teal

Upland Game Birds


Pigeons and Doves

Rock Pigeon

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Song: hoo HOO hoo, hoo HOO hoo; Call: "ugly' growl.

Mourning Dove

Slow, subtle, mournful: hoo HOO hoo hoo hoo (low high lower lower lower)

Cuckoos and their Allies

Nightjars, Nighthawks and Swifts


Black-chinned Hummingbird

BCHU male wing noise much more subtle than BTHU; Female has less rufous than BTHU female

Rufous Hummingbird

(Migrant coming 1st week of July) Very aggressive, very red-orange.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

BTHU male makes loud wing noise when flying;

Gruiformes: Coots, Cranes and Rails

Smaller Wading Birds


Gulls, Terns and Skimmers

Medium to Large Waterbirds: Pelicans and their Allies

Long-legged Wading Birds

Green Heron

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Diurnal Raptors: Vultures, Eagles and Hawks

Turkey Vulture

Wings held up in slight v-shape (dihedral); rocks, unlike other raptors

Cooper's Hawk

Near nest, male gives emphatic "kek kek kek kek". Number of keks variable.

Red-tailed Hawk

Rules for buteo ID in our location: 1. It's a RTHA 2. It's a RTHA 3. It's a RTHA --- Must eliminate RTHA first; Belly band on whitish front; Juvenile does not always have a red tail.

Nocturnal Raptors: Owls



Lewis's Woodpecker

Red-naped Sapsucker

Hammering begins with quick burst followed by slowing, irregular hits.

Downy Woodpecker

Bill short compared to head size; Whinny descends in pitch at end.

Hairy Woodpecker

Bill roughly equal compared to head size; Whinny stays on same pitch to end. "pink" call brighter than Downy call.

Northern Flicker

Longer, stronger whinny than other woodpeckers.


American Kestrel

High pitched, insistent "klee klee klee"

Tyrant Flycatchers

Western Wood-Pewee

Buzzy descending pee-wee given from high perch.

Willow Flycatcher

Song: fitz-bew; In general, Empidonax genus flycatchers difficult to distinguish unless singing on their breeding grounds.

Cordilleran Flycatcher

Song: two note

Say's Phoebe

Song: (pit)-pee-ur; descending slide

Shrikes and Vireos

Warbling Vireo

Always high in the canopy. Often: 3-note rolling phrase repeated 2 or 3 times. [In All About Birds, see Song(Western)]

Jays, Crows and their Allies

Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay

Black-billed Magpie

Single ascending shriek and a harsh chatter

American Crow

Caw; Smaller, cleaner beak and generally sleeker look than Raven; Large groups common, espaecially outside of breeding season.

Common Raven

Chortle; Ravens often fly in the manner of a raptor. (Pair-bonding includes synchronized flight); Large groups rare except if soaring (like raptors) on a thermal.



Violet-green Swallow

White breast-belly; White on sides of rump often visible

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Dirty white breast-belly

Barn Swallow

Buff to rufous breast-belly; Forked tail often observable.

Chickadees and their Allies

Black-capped Chickadee

Song: descending fee-bee or fee-bee-bee; Common breeder in Taos; Unseen, but heard Chickadee in non-breeding season should be reported as Black-capped/Mountain Chickadee.

Mountain Chickadee

Song: descending fee-bee or fee-bee-bee; Generally breeds at higher elevations

Nuthatches and Creepers

White-breasted Nuthatch

Repeated nasal: hun hun hun hun (both a slow and faster version heard)

Brown Creeper

Single high, thin "seee". Almost always heard before seen.


House Wren


Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Call: Distinctive, insistent, high-pitched nasal mews. At times sounds scolding.



Thrushes and their Allies

Western Bluebird

Flight call a whispered "chew" or "choor". Given repeatedly in flight.

Townsend's Solitaire

Will return in Winter to give its repeated clear whistle.

American Robin

Song: "cheeri-up cheer-a-lee cheer-ee-o" pause and repeat. Calls include a whinny.

Mimids "Mimic Thrushes"

Gray Catbird

Call: A cat-like "meow"; Song: a seemingly disorganized noisy collection of random notes and sounds. Can go on and on sometimes.

Starlings and Mynas

European Starling

Sounds unpredictable. Sounds are rarely songlike. If it doesn't "ring a bell" and its subtle, consider Starling.


European Passerines

House Sparrow

Male gives a dry "killip". Flocks give a constant indescript chatter.

Wagtails and Pipits


Evening Grosbeak

"warbled whistle"; Consistent, large gatherings this spring were unusual.

House Finch

Rollicking warble overall descending. During spring and breeding season, often ending with an upward slurred note.

Cassin's Finch

Similar to House Finch song. Less likely to end with up-slurred note. (Also gives a "pit-a-lit" similar to that of Western Tanager.

Pine Siskin

Song like other finches. Not particularly distinct; Often gives ascending trill like running a thumb-nail up a comb [in AllAboutBirds see "Calls (northern) California June 6]

Lesser Goldfinch

Song difficult to separate from AMGO; Two note, descending slurred call distinctive. Often sounds conversational.

American Goldfinch

Variable series of "twitters and warbles".

Sparrows and their Allies

Song Sparrow

Song generally opens with 2 or 3 single notes followed by a descending jumble. Sometimes ends in a trill. Sometimes the opening notes extend into a "bouncing ball" cadence before the descending jumble.

Green-tailed Towhee

Spotted Towhee

Chup-chup-chup-cheeeze song ubiquitous in our area. Call, a not very catlike "mew" or "grr". As the breeding season ends, the song will become absent and most detections will be made by the call or sight.


Yellow-breasted Chat

In our area, usually 4-6 different sounds/phrases separated by about a second. Generally makes one sound/phrase, then makes a different one. (This is in contrast to the Northern Mockingbird which usually sings one phrase 2-6 times before moving on to another phrase.) During breeding season, consistently sings at night.

Icterids: Blackbirds, Orioles and their Allies

Western Meadowlark

Song: Distinctive, opens with a few clear notes before tumbling into a few watery warbles .

Bullock's Oriole

Song: rhythmic high and low notes sometimes suggesting child's sqeaky noise toy. Call: Harsh 2-3 note chatter common.

Red-winged Blackbird

Song: From granddaughter May: boo-REEEEEEEE(-toh) [The burrito bird]. Calls: Loud,fast "check", "chit" and others.

Brown-headed Cowbird

Song: distinctive liquid/watery notes followed quickly by a slurred, ascending, sharp whistle.

Great-tailed Grackle

Loud and noisy! Shrieks, whistles. Ascending and descending squeals. Rapid machine-like noises.


Orange-crowned Warbler

Song: a slow trill, increasing slightly in intensity and then trailing off in intensity and sometime in pitch.

Common Yellowthroat

Gives a strong, rolling: "wichety-witchety-witchety"; In NM generally associated with wetlands.

Yellow Warbler

"Sweet-sweet-sweet-I'm so sweet" faster than you can say it. Arrives when trees have solid leaf cover.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Present here only in migration: slow, pulsating warbled trill; Arrives before full tree leaf-out.


Western Tanager

During migration, consistently gives subtle "pit-a-lit".

Grosbeaks (Cardinalidae)