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State of New Mexico

Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus ©Boris Krylov Website

Birding New Mexico

New Mexico is the forgotten gem amongst the southwestern US states. Most people are unaware that New Mexico is a state in the US and not a region of Mexico. In fact only a small part of the southwest borders Mexico. New Mexico is famous as one of four states (Colorado, Utah and Arizona being the others); which have the corners of its borders meet at one point, this is known as the Four Corners region. It is probably better known as the state associated with the Roswell incident, and numerous UFO sightings.

But what of the birds I hear you say, well New Mexico has recorded the fourth highest species count (after Texas, California and Arizona) in the whole of the mainland USA, with approximately 500 species seen. Whilst a considerable area of New Mexico is of desert-like habitat, it is surrounded by mountain ranges that rise to over 13,000ft. In fact the average altitude in New Mexico is 5700ft, so be prepared for a few breathless moments if you seeking out the higher altitude specialities. One of the rules of thumb for finding birds in New Mexico is search for the water. Throughout the State there are numerous reservoirs, rivers and irrigation projects, which act like magnets to the birds.

The tail end of the Rockies meanders through the State leaving big mountain ranges around Sante Fe and Albuquerque. The latter area is the site of the spring (Sandia's) and autumn (Manzano's) Hawkwatch schemes, where thousands of raptors are annually counted whilst on migration. The mountains also act as funnel for passerine migrants.

South of Albuquerque is the world famous Bosque del Apache wildlife reserve. It is most famous for its tens of thousands of Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes during the winter, though has something to offer throughout the year. But birding New Mexico is more than Bosque del Apache, for example the southwest of the state has birds more often associated with Mexico and southeastern Arizona. The new guidebook to finding birds in New Mexico is a must for any visitors.

New Mexico is a big state with a lot to offer the birder throughout the year. Whilst sunshine is never far away it does get cold in winter and very warm during the summer months. So when visiting New Mexico be prepared for a wide diversity of scenery, big blue skies and some awesome birding.


David Grant

Ayr, Scotland


Number of Species

Number of bird species: 544

As at November 2016


iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Reading

Arizona & New Mexico Birds

Kurt Radamaker and Gregory Kennedy Lone Pine Publishing - forthcoming

ISBN: 9789768200280

Buy 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 2000 Texas A&M University Press

ISBN: 0890969574

Buy this book from NHBS.com

National Geographic Field Guide to Birds: Arizona and New Mexico

Jonathan Alderfer Series: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC STATE FIELD GUIDES TO BIRDS 272 pages, maps, photos, drawings. National Geographic Society 2006

ISBN: 0792253124

Buy this book from NHBS.com

New Mexico Bird Finding Guide

Edited by DA Zimmerman, MA Zimmerman and JN Durrie 170 pages, line illus, maps. New Mexico Ornithological Society 2002

ISBN: 143960

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

State Bird

Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus


Audubon in New Mexico


Usual list of chapters

Central New Mexico Audubon Society


The Central New Mexico Audubon Society (CNMAS) is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, devoted to the protection, preservation, and enjoyment of the environment, with a particular emphasis on birds. CNMAS is a chapter of the National Audubon Society and serves members in central New Mexico.

Friends of Bitter Lake NWR

Facebook Page

ue to the increase of visitors to this marvelous site, over 44,000 people last year alone, we feel that in order to accommodate more in the future we need to make access to this facility an even more enjoyable experience. The Friends will assist with conservation projects, scientific studies, community outreach, tours, facility development, and many other activities…

Friends of Bosque de Apache NWR


Sandhill Cranes, Snow Geese and many other migrating birds make the Bosque their winter home in beautiful New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment with incomparable sunsets, delicate multicolored mountains, intense blue skies and special light…

Friends of the Rio Grande Nature Center


The Friends of the Rio Grande Nature Center is a non-profit 50l(c)3 organization that supports the Nature Center's mission to preserve and protect the Rio Grande bosque, to educate the public about Rio Grande ecosystems and to foster positive human interactions with those systems…

Lincoln County Bird Club


The Lincoln County Bird Club is an organization of people who enjoy birds and nature and want to learn more about birds and the environment. We have regular field trips of varying lengths and social activities. We also sponsor regular community activities that promote the health of the environment and create public environmental awareness.

Mesilla Valley Audubon Society


The Mesilla Valley Audubon Society is a chapter of the National Audubon Society. We are a conservation and natural history organization based in southern New Mexico. Our objectives are to promote appreciation and conservation of birds, other wildlife and their habitats through environmental education, issue advocacy and natural history experiences…

Nature Conservancy in New Mexico


Welcome to The Nature Conservancy's New Mexico Chapter home page. Here you'll find information on the many ways we`re working to help preserve the diversity of living things by protecting the habitats they call home…

New Mexico Wildlife Association


Wildlife West Nature Park is a 122 acre, hands-on environmental education center. It features plants and animals indigenous to the Southwest as well as their habitats. Wildlife West is also a renewable energy project incorporating recycled building materials in its buildings and habitat constructions. Wildlife West employs alternative energy production designs. As Wildlife West develops and grows, these alternative production designs will allow for the park to become self-sustaining in its energy consumption.

New Mexico Bird Records Committee


The New Mexico Bird Records Committee does not require a specific form for reporting, but strongly encourages the use of the included form, which specifies the conditions of the sighting that influence its deliberations…

New Mexico Ornithological Society


The New Mexico Ornithological Society was founded in 1962 to increase knowledge of New Mexico bird life and to provide an accurate compilation of species occurring in the state. Members include amateur ornithologists of varying skills as well as professionals. The Society acts as the main clearinghouse for information on bird distribution in the state and sponsors or cooperates in a number of programs designed to gather data on bird distribution…

Sangre de Cristo Audubon Society


We have approximately 1000 members in northern New Mexico, representing Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Española, Taos, Las Vegas, and other communities. Santa Fe is also the home of the Randall Davey Audubon Center, a scenic property at the end of Canyon Road owned by the National Audubon Society. David Henderson is the director of the center, which can be reached at (505) 983-4609. The center has a bookstore and hiking trails.

Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society


The Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society serves communities in four counties; the Town of Silver City, Deming, Lordsburg, Glenwood, Cliff, Reserve, the Mimbres Valley, and the Gila National Forest. There are numerous wonderful ecosystems in Southwestern New Mexico. Our chapter offers regular field trips and natural history public education for residents and visitors to the region. This site offers information about monthly meetings and programs, field trips, Community Education, Conservation updates, descriptions of Regional Habitat with links to Maps and Checklists, and the monthly Newsletter "The Ravens." …


Abbreviations Key

Bitter Lake NWR


Satellite View

Native grasses, sand dunes, brushy bottomlands, seven lakes, and a red-rimmed plateau make up Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, winter home for thousands of migratory birds. The lakes on the refuge were formed within the ancient river beds of the Pecos River. These lakes store about 1,000 acres of water at their highest levels, while nearby marshland, mudflats, and the Pecos River provide an additional 24,500 acres of habitat. The refuge's namesake is a shallow playa lake, fed by small springs, that often goes dry during the summer, leaving only a white alkaline lake bed. The water from the springs is brackish and too bitter to drink, but is a favored roosting site for cranes and waterfowl…

Bosque del Apache NWR


Satellite View

Bosque del Apache means woods of the Apaches, and is rooted in the time when the Spanish observed Apaches routinely camped in the riverside forest. Since then the name has come to mean one of the most spectacular national wildlife refuges in North America. Here, tens of thousands of birds--including sandhill cranes, Arctic geese, and many kinds of ducks--gather each autumn and stay through the winter. Feeding snow geese erupt in explosions of wings when frightened by a stalking coyote, and at dusk, flight after flight of geese and cranes return to roost in the marshes. In the summer Bosque del Apache lives its quiet, green life as an oasis in the arid lands that surround it…

Carlsbad Caverns National Park


Satellite View

In the higher elevations of the park you may be lucky enough to see golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, western diamondback rattlesnakes, elk, or the tracks of cougar…

New Mexico National Forests


Map and details…

New Mexico State Parks


Welcome to the Internet site for New Mexico State Parks. We`ve created this site to provide you with information necessary to plan a visit to any of New Mexico`s state parks…

Randall Davey Audubon Center


Satellite View

At the Randall Davey Audubon Center you can take a guided bird walk, tour the historic Randall Davey Home & Studio, ramble the nature trails, explore the hiking trails, visit the Nature Store, and learn about the natural history of the area…

White Sands National Monument


Satellite View

At the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert lies a mountain ringed valley called the Tularosa Basin. Rising from the heart of this basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico…

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Bird Treks

Tour Operator

Bird Treks has been providing small group and custom birding tours for over 20 years. Visit their website to see the incredible tours available, including the Sandia Mountains for all three Rosy-Finches!

Wezil Walraven Bird Tours


Here you will find the current tours offered by Wezil Walraven, professional bird guide. Wezil is the sole owner and operator of Wezil Walraven Bird Tours, as well as a senior tour guide for High Lonesome Bird Tours. If you are interested in a private trip lead by Wezil, he will take out groups of any number in the AZ/NM region. Contact Wezil: wezil@wezilwalravenbirdtours.com 828-575-3107 (new number)…

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…


Trip Report Repository

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.

2012 [01 January] - Barry Zimmer

Report PDF

…Small groups of Sandhill Cranes kept gliding in overhead, rattling and trumpeting as they sailed into the marsh. Suddenly all the geese erupted into the air, at first heading south, and then circling back and flying directly over our heads. The sight and sound of this avian explosion was quite memorable, and when we looked to the east we saw perhaps the cause of the fuss, as an immature Bald Eagle sailed lazily into view…

2013 [01 January] - Barry Zimmer

Report PDF

…On the west side of town, we marveled at a huge Yellow-headed Blackbird roost site with an estimated 8,000 birds in view at once. Scope views of perched Golden Eagle and Prairie Falcon that afternoon were topped only by the vagrant Lewis’s Woodpecker that we tracked down near Vinton…

2013 [02 February] - Richard Coomber - Arizona & New Mexico

Report PDF

…White-crowned Sparrows feeding from the ground and one of the bird-tables, whilst the nyjer seed cylinder was smothered in Pine Siskins. Colour came in the form of Red Cardinals, these south- western males are particularly bright and in the early morning sun they seemed to glow from within. Unusually they were outnumbered by their desert cousins, Pyrrhuloxias….

2014 [01 January] - Barry Zimmer

PDF Report

…From the first afternoon with nearly 10,000 Yellow-headed Blackbirds draping the wires like Christmas garland to the last afternoon with a swirling flock of Black and Brown- capped rosy-finches pouring onto a feeder just 20 feet away, our Winter New Mexico tour was packed with great birds and fantastic bird spectacles. Starting in El Paso, we scoured the Rio Grande Valley and adjacent mountains northward to Albuquerque, tallying 143 species of birds and enjoying some of the best weather ever for this trip…

2014 [03 March] - Charles Spagnoli


…At the beginning of March, 2014, I set up a trip to Albuquerque to catch the Sandia Crest rosy-finches before the season ended. Two years earlier I had been in Albuquerque for a business trip and had spent my one morning free for birding driving up to see the rosy-finches, only to find I was two weeks too late, so I was looking to redeem the experience this year….

2015 [01 January] - Barry Zimmer

PDF Report

... In the El Paso area we enjoyed such rarities as Cackling Goose, Greater Scaup side by side with Lesser just 10 feet away, a pair of White-tailed Kites, a county first Blue-throated Hummingbird, Lewis’s Woodpecker, a truly stunning male Vermilion Flycatcher, Eastern Bluebird (the hardest of the three species to see in this area), and an overwintering pair of Hooded Orioles...

2015 [11 November] - Zoothera Birding

PDF Report

2016 [01 January] - Barry Zimmer

PDF Report

... Quickly though, we were drawn to the frenzied activity of birds coming and going. Countless Mountain Chickadees, Red-breasted and White-breasted nuthatches, bold Steller’s Jays, and Dark-eyed Juncos (Grayheaded race) all competed for the sunflower seeds on the tray. Our targets here were the rosy-finches, however, and they are notoriously nomadic and erratic. Sandia Crest is one of the best and most reliable places to find all three species in winter though, so we waited hopefully....

2016 [02 February] - Richard Coomber - Arizona & New Mexico

PDF Report

2017 [01 January] - Barry Zimmer

PDF Report

We arrived at Percha Dam State Park around 10 AM having already had a stellar morning. The drive from Las Cruces had produced several good birds including wonderful scope studies of Ferruginous Hawk and Prairie Falcon, fields of Sandhill Cranes, and a close Greater Roadrunner among others. We had barely made it out of the cars when a Red-naped Sapsucker was spotted working some nearby pines. While enjoying prolonged scope studies of the sapsucker, a Phainopepla flew in overhead, and several Western Bluebirds appeared in a nearby mistletoe-laden tree.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Grey Feathers Lodge


Welcome to Grey Feathers Lodge where you can hear the unique voices of over 400 species of wild bird year round including thousands of hummingbirds in the spring and summer. We also have hundreds of raptors in the fall and winter…

Morning Dove Inn B&B


A warm welcome awaits you at the Morning Dove Inn, located one block from the Atlantic Ocean and overlooking Silver Lake. The inn provides a tranquil setting year-round. This lovely Victorian home features eight rooms, each with private bath. Originally built as a private home more than a century ago, the inn has a front porch ideal for watching the swans on Silver Lake, while enjoying ocean breezes and taking a respite from the summer sun… or end the day listening to the birds in the quiet of a secluded garden…


Festival of the Cranes


The 2014 Festival of the Cranes is now one for the record books! If you would like to see some of the great workshops, lectures, and tours we had, please check out our Schedule of Events online or peruse the complete 2014 Festival brochure(3Mb pdf). - Join us in 2015, November 17-22!

Gila Birds & Nature Festival


Southwestern New Mexico is an area of rugged mountains, deep canyons, and rivers. It is well-known for an unusual diversity of natural features and abundant wildlife. The Gila National Forest encompasses approximately 3.3 million acres of this land, and nearly a quarter of it is designated wilderness area…


Museum of Southwestern Biology


The Museum of Southwestern Biology (MSB) is a research and teaching facility in the Department of Biology, housing collections of vertebrates, arthropods, and plants from the American Southwest, Central and South America, and from throughout the world. The MSB maintains seven divisions in addition to the USGS-Biological Survey Collection…


It's a Bird Thing


Postings on birding adventures and natural history, with an emphasis on New Mexico…

Northern Wings


Birding in Vermont & beyond - and our second home in New Mexico. My interest in Nature began at childhood and since then has become a significant part of my life…

Other Links

Birding Southeastern New Mexico


Go slowly and as you descend into the ravine look to the right (south); there may be ducks, and during the summer, swallows. While ascending out of the ravine look left (north); this can be quite a good size pond depending upon the quantity of water in it. There are times when the area is completely dry, due to the weather and irrigation. A variety of ducks (Shovelers, Buffleheads, Pintails, Wigeons among others); and black birds, along with Coots, and wading birds. Chukars have been seen in this area from Pine Lodge to Lone Cedar. Continue east approximately .9 mile on Lone Cedar to Railroad Lane and head left (north) back to Pine Lodge Road, there continue east (right) following the Refuge signs.)…

New Mexico Birding


NewMexicoBirding.com has been established to provide those interested in birding in New Mexico with information to assist them in making their birding time more fun and productive…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Boris Krylov


Some really excellent bird photographs - amongst many other nature shots…

Photographer - Marcus G. Martin


The goals of photobirder are to provide the birding community with free access to photographs of the birds of the world, and to sell images, slides, greeting cards and prints for the personal or commercial use of the general public…