State of Nevada
Most people's mental image of Nevada is of great expanses of dry desert landscape, covered with sagebrush and blowing sand. The fact that Nevada is the driest state, averaging less than 4 inches of precipitation a year, supports this image. In fact, ranked sixth in the nation for biodiversity, Nevada, a Spanish word meaning snow-covered mountains, offers birders much more than barren wastelands.
Located almost entirely in the Great Basin portion of the Intermountain Region, Nevada boasts 51 peaks with an elevation over 9,000 feet. The highest, Boundary Peak, along the California border, towers over 13,000 feet, while the lower end along the lower Colorado River sits at 420 feet. This wide range supports many diverse habitats. Nevada is a state of basins and ranges, with numerous north/south lying mountain ranges separated by valleys. Nevada ranks 7th in area and 35th in population, with a density of 16 people per square mile. Nearly 75% of the population lives in the Las Vegas area.
The bird life is as diverse as the habitats, with a state list hovering around 470 species, nearly 250 of which are known to breed in the state. Located on the Pacific Flyway, Nevada hosts a wide range of shorebirds and waterfowl. In 1999, over 60,000 shorebirds were tallied in both the Spring and Fall counts, with Long-billed Dowitchers, Black-necked Stilts, and American Avocets as the most numerous species. Large concentrations of wintering raptors can be found in the Northwestern part of the state. Eastern Nevada is the only place in North America to see the introduced Himalayan Snowcock, and southern Nevada receives many visitors for Le Conte`s Thrasher and other desert species.
The state has two Audubon chapters, Lahonton Audubon in the Reno area and Red Rock in Las Vegas, the Great Basin Bird Observatory, and an active Nature Conservancy chapter. A newly implemented Important Bird Area program has designated several Globally and Continentally Important sites. The Globally Important sites include the Goshute Mountains, Lahonton Valley Wetlands, Ruby Lake NWR, and Walker Lake. Pahranagat NWR is a Continentally Important site. Other potential Important Bird Areas include Franklin Lake, Humboldt WMA and Pyramid Lake. Nevada is also an active member in Partners in Flight.
With the aid of dedicated volunteers, fieldwork on the Nevada Breeding Bird Atlas has been completed and will be published by the Great Basin Bird Observatory in 2002. Eight MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding stations are currently in operation, and new stations are in the planning stages. An ongoing raptor migration project, which includes banding, in the Goshute Mountains in eastern Nevada, is sponsored by HawkWatch International. News of these projects and current local sightings can be found on the Nevada Birding Listserv.
Beth & Bill Clark
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 488
As at March 2016
Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Nevada
by Ted Floyd, NYP
ISBN: 0874176956Buy this book from NHBS.com
Bird Songs and Calls of Lake Tahoe - Tape
Sierra Nevada Mountains, California / Nevada
ISBN: 137069Buy this book from NHBS.com
Birds of the Lahontan Valley: A Guide to Nevada's Wetland Oasis
Graham Chisholm and Larry A Neel 224 pages, 60 illus, 4 maps. University of Nevada Press 2002
ISBN: 0874174791Buy this book from NHBS.com
Birds of the Southwest : Arizona, New Mexico, Southern California, and Southern Nevada
(W.L. Moody, Jr., Natural History Series, No. 30) John H. Rappole Hardcover (October 2000) Texas A&M University Press
ISBN: 0890969574Buy this book from NHBS.com
Mountain Bluebird Sialia currucoides
Forums & Mailing Lists
Guides & Tour Operators
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2006 [08 August] - Chris Hill
One word of warning with regards to birding in Las Vegas is that if you are reliant on Public transport for getting around you might want to reconsider as getting taxis away from the Strip and the Hotels is very difficult and is likely to involve very long waits. Your best bet is probably to hire a car…
2011 [11 November] - Noah Gaines
…Other great encounters were a very close LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE from the viewing tower as it caught and destroyed several insects. Other birds included many jogging GREATER ROADRUNNERs, a swimming GREATER YELLOWLEGS, a close HORNED GREBE (with EARED for comparison), a frightened WILSON’S SNIPE, a PEREGRINE flyby, a whinnying SORA, and a grunting VIRGINIA RAIL. ..
2014 [04 April] - Michel Watelet
...For a long time, my desire was to go to Colorado to see some grouses displaying (Gunnison’s SG, Greater SG, Greater Prairie-Chicken and Sharp-tailed Grouse). I saw Lesser Prairie-Chicken before in New Mexico. Others targets were: Northern Pygmy-Owl, Easter Screech-owl, Black-backed Woodpecker, Brown-capped and black Rosy-Finch. I’m very interesting by mammals also and the target was the Bobcat....
2014 [09 September] - David Blair
...After yesterday's poor result things started very promisingly with a skulking Le Conteh's Thrasher (Lifer for both) on top of some scrub about a mile from the centre. This was to be the start of great mornings birding. Drive into Corn Creek, Desert National Wildlife Reserves about 30 miles north of Vegas went well with Le Conteh's Thrasher seen on the track in and then a run across Roadrunner seen by me but not by Sarah. No sooner parked up than we see Dark-eyed Junco and Black-chinned Hummingbird. Then we had three birds that were all lifers for Sarah, Western Tanager in all his glory, Phainopepla and Lazuli Bunting. As we took the short trail at the concrete pool we had a juvenile BC Night Heron, a Belted Kingfisher and a Bank Swallow. Onto the Bighorn Trail and Verdin were everywhere. I then heard a Greater Roadrunner which until this trip was a bit of a bogey bird, and this time we both saw it well...
2016 [07 July] - Wilton Family
As is typical of a family holiday, birding time is at a premium and restricted. In general I would try and get an hours birding in first thing in the morning, before everyone gets up, and try and push for stops that suit birding along the way. ...
Places to Stay
Nevada's state-owned Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are home to many resident and migratory birds and mammals. Found throughout the state, the public can generally drive to a WMA in less than two hours from the major population centers and find great access to wildlife viewing...
Audubon Society in Nevada
Audubon's local chapters can bring you bird walks, advocacy campaigns, nature outings, educational programs and other events. And with more than 500 chapters around the country, there's likely to be one nearby!
Bristlecone Audubon is dedicated to preserving all wild lands, wild watersheds and their wildlife habitats on public and private lands in northeast Nevada, protecting them from ongoing threats, educating the public about the value and need for healthy living landscapes, promoting a conservation ethic in our communities and improving the management and restoration of all native landscapes for the benefit of humanity and earth’s biological diversity.
Goshutes Mountains Raptor Migration Project
HWI and its organizational precursors have been studying the fall raptor migration in the Goshute Mountains of northeastern Nevada since 1980 when HWI founder Steve Hoffman and colleagues first began banding at the site…
Lahontan Audubon Society
Serving Northern Nevada - Little Valley is situated at an elevation of 6800 feet in the Carson Range between Reno and Carson City, NV. The valley is north-trending and lies between ridges that attain 9000 feet on the west and overlook Lake Tahoe and 7000 feet on the east and overlook Washoe Lake. Captain George Whittell deeded the north end of Little Valley to UNR for research and teaching purposes in 1959. The north end of the valley, now called the George Whittell Forest and Wildlife Area, has not been grazed for twenty years or logged since the late 1800`s. The valley flora and fauna are well studied, including the beaver whose dams have influenced the station habitat. One-hundred and two (102) species of birds have been noted in the valley since 1962.
Nature Conservancy in Nevada
Welcome to The Nature Conservancy - the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people…
Nevada Bird Records Committee
If you have observed a rare bird in Nevada, a written description is an excellent way of providing a credible and permanent record of your observation. The purpose of the Nevada Bird Records Committee (NBRC) is to archive all records of Nevada Review Species, for the long-term objective of determining patterns of occurrence and distribution of Nevada`s avifauna. NBRC requests documentation for all observations of species on the Nevada Review List…
Nevada Wildlife Federation
The Nevada Wildlife Federation (NvWF) is an all volunteer organization dedicated to sustaining Nevada's natural resources for Nevada's natural resources for wildlife through conservation and education. NvWF is the state affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation…
Red Rock Audubon Society
The Red Rock Audubon Society is the Southern Nevada chapter of the National Audubon Society. Located in Las Vegas, our chapter was formed in 1976 and continues to be active in the community today. As a local environmental organization we are dedicated to the preservation of habitat for birds and other wildlife in Nevada through education, contributions as citizen scientists, and efforts to preserve, restore, and maintain wildlife habitat. Many projects have been accomplished in partnership with various government and community organizations. RRAS Outreach Activities involve monthly programs 8 times per year and up to 20 Field Trips per year…
Great Basin Bird Observatory
Great Basin Bird Observatory has launched a number of monitoring projects, including the Nevada Breeding Bird Atlas, two new MAPS bird banding stations and a loon telemetry project to help us better understand Walker Lake and its common loons. In addition, GBBO is actively working on several projects to increase public awareness of bird and habitat conservation, including the Spring Wings Festival in Fallon, Nevada and the Walker Lake Loon Festival in Nevada.
Barrick Museum Las Vegas
The Barrick Museum Ornithology Department maintains curated collections of skins, egg sets and frozen tissues. Division research projects include: molt studies of passerine (song) birds, the molecular systematics and intercontinental bio-geography of certain passerine genera, the use of Lake Mead by migrating shorebirds, and documenting the distributions of avifauna in southern Nevada.
City of Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
For more than 20 years, local birders and nature lovers have visited the evaporating ponds at the city's Wastewater Reclamation Facility. As the third largest body of water in Southern Nevada, the ponds proved irresistible to a wide variety of native and migratory birds. Here in the middle of a desert, birds found an undisturbed and plentiful water source.
Las Vegas Springs Preserve
Extensive floral and faunal surveys are currently underway to define habitat use on the property. This approach to evaluating an ecosystem is necessary to determine appropriate and effective management strategies. Information that results from these surveys will be valuable for development of the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, as well as the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan. The data from this microcosm of the Mojave Desert also will serve to increase understanding of our native environment and thus encourage responsible use of the Mojave's natural resources.
Nevada National Wildlife Refuges
Click-thru to individual pages…
Ruby Lake NWR
Of special interest are the canvasback and redhead nesting areas in the prolific bulrush of the South Marsh, a natural depression at the south end of the refuge. This area has the highest canvasback nesting density of anywhere in North America. During the years of flood and drought extremes, breeding birds were forced to nest elsewhere and managers were concerned about their success with limited wetlands…
The Stillwater marshes were drying up. Home for thousands of years to thousands of migrating birds and northern Paiute Indians who were closely connected to rhythms of the local ecology, the marshes waters were being diverted by twentieth century agriculture, drying them out and threatening wetland life. This is an absorbing story of a group of conservationists ingenious solution - to have the refuge buy agricultural water rights…