Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley
Birds at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.
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TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE BIRDS OF BENTSEN-RIO GRANDE VALLEY S T A T E P A R K WORLD BIRDING CENTER A FIELD CHECKLIST 2014 Cover: Illustration of Mississippi Kite by Rob Fleming. INTRODUCTION B entsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park consists of 797 acres of subtropical resaca woodlands and drier thorny brushlands that once characterized the entirety of the Lower Rio Grande Valley but which is now limited to scattered fragments. The park supports about 358 species of birds, many of which are subtropical species typical of eastern Mexico and not found north of the border beyond extreme southern Texas. Some of the characteristic species of the region include Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Gray Hawk, Hook-billed Kite, Plain Chachalaca, White-tipped Dove, Groove-billed Ani, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Couch’s Kingbird, Great Kiskadee, Green Jay, Olive Sparrow and Altamira Oriole. Additionally Bentsen has become well known for consistently producing extremely rare visitors from Mexico, often the first records for these species north of the border. The natural habitats of the park have been created by the evolution of the Rio Grande over time as it has carved out and then abandoned channels and nourished the lands along it with life-giving floods. Presently the river has been controlled by numerous dams throughout its watershed, and vegetation communities in the park have been gradually drying out and becoming more arid. The transition of Bentsen from traditional state park to headquarters of the World Birding Center has resulted in tripling the size of the protected area with the incorporation of donated land and a cooperative relationship between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This checklist, compiled by John Arvin, is based on observations by numerous individuals, and includes those species which have been observed within or passing over the park. Nomenclature and organization for this checklist follow the A.O.U. Check-list of North American Birds, 7th edition, 1998 as currently supplemented. Because we will be updating this checklist as additional observations are made, we ask that you report details of new or unusual sightings. Reports may be sent to Bentsen-RGV State Park, World Birding Center, 2800 South Bentsen Palm Drive, Mission, Texas 78572 or may be left at the park headquarters. 1 Please help us protect the natural avian communities in our parks by refraining from using playback tapes of bird songs. Frequent use of these tapes disrupts normal avian activity patterns and essential territorial behavior, and may lead to nest failure. Thank you for your cooperation. LEGEND C – common; seen daily in some numbers U – uncommon; usually seen daily in proper habitat and season but only one or a few individuals R – rare; seen only once or twice a year and may not occur every year X – extremely rare; only one or two records exist * – has nested in the park • – a species found north of the Mexican border entirely in extreme southern Texas or one which can be found there more reliably than in other areas Sp Su F W – – – – Spring (March-May) Summer (June-August) Fall (September-November) Winter (December-February) 2 CHECKLIST W Sp Su F DUCKS & GEESE ___*•Black-bellied Whistling-Duck R U U R ___ Fulvous Whistling-Duck X R R R ___ Greater White-fronted Goose U U ___ Snow Goose U U ___ Ross’s Goose R ___ Muscovy Duck (feral) U U U U ___ Wood Duck R R ___ Gadwall C C ___ American Wigeon C C ___ Mallard R R ___* “Mexican Duck” U U U U ___* Mottled Duck U U U U ___* Blue-winged Teal C C R C ___ Cinnamon Teal R R R ___ Northern Shoveler C C C ___ Northern Pintail U U ___ Green-winged Teal C U C ___ Canvasback R R ___ Redhead R R ___ Ring-necked Duck C U C ___ Greater Scaup R ___ Lesser Scaup U U U ___ Bufflehead R R ___ Hooded Merganser R R ___ Masked Duck X X X X ___* Ruddy Duck U U R U CHACHALACAS & GUANS ___*•Plain Chachalaca C 3 C C C W Sp Su F NEW WORLD QUAIL ___* Northern Bobwhite U U U U PARTRIDGES & TURKEYS ___ Wild Turkey X X X X GREBES ___*•Least Grebe U U U U ___ Pied-billed Grebe C U U C ___ Eared Grebe R X X STORKS ___ Jabiru X ___ Wood Stork U U FRIGATEBIRDS ___ Magnificent Frigatebird X CORMORANTS ___*•Neotropic Cormorant U ___ Double-crested Cormorant C U U C U U ANHINGAS ___* Anhinga U C C C PELICANS ___ American White Pelican U U ___ Brown Pelican X U HERONS ___ American Bittern R R R ___* Least Bittern R R ___ Bare-throated Tiger-Heron X ___ Great Blue Heron C C U C ___ Great Egret C C C C ___ Snowy Egret U U U U ___ Little Blue Heron R U U U ___ Tricolored Heron U U U U 4 W Sp Su F ___ Reddish Egret X ___ Cattle Egret C C ___* Green Heron R C ___* Black-crowned Night-Heron U U ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron R U X C C R U X C C U R IBIS & SPOONBILLS ___ White Ibis R R ___ White-faced Ibis U U U ___ Roseate Spoonbill R R NEW WORLD VULTURES ___ Black Vulture U ___ Turkey Vulture C U C U C U C OSPREYS ___ Osprey C C R C HAWKS, KITES, & EAGLES ___*•Hook-billed Kite R R R R ___ Swallow-tailed Kite R R ___* White-tailed Kite C C U C ___ Snail Kite X ___ Mississippi Kite C C ___ Bald Eagle X ___ Northern Harrier U U U ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk U C C ___* Cooper’s Hawk C C R C ___*•Harris’s Hawk U U U U ___ Roadside Hawk X X ___ Red-shouldered Hawk U U U ___ Broad-winged Hawk X C R C ___*•Gray Hawk U U U U ___ Short-tailed Hawk X X X ___ Swainson’s Hawk X C U C 5 W Sp Su F ___•White-tailed Hawk U U R U ___ Zone-tailed Hawk R R R ___ Red-tailed Hawk C U U ___ Ferruginous Hawk R R RAILS ___* King Rail R ___ Virginia Rail R ___ Sora C ___ Purple Gallinule ___* Common Gallinule U ___* American Coot C R R R R R C C R R X U R U C C CRANES ___ Sandhill Crane U U U STILTS & AVOCETS ___* Black-necked Stilt U U U U ___ American Avocet U U U PLOVERS ___ Black-bellied Plover X ___ American Golden-Plover R ___ Semipalmated Plover R R ___* Killdeer C C C C JACANAS ___ Northern Jacana X X X SANDPIPERS ___ Spotted Sandpiper U C R C ___ Solitary Sandpiper R U U ___ Greater Yellowlegs U C C ___ Lesser Yellowlegs C C C ___ Upland Sandpiper C C ___ Whimbrel X 6 W ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ Sp Su F Long-billed Curlew C C C Hudsonian Godwit R Stilt Sandpiper C C C Baird’s Sandpiper R R Least Sandpiper C C C White-rumped Sandpiper U Buff-Breasted Sandpiper U U Pectoral Sandpiper U U U Semipalmated Sandpiper U U Western Sandpiper U U U Short-billed Dowitcher R R Long-billed Dowitcher U U U Wilson’s Snipe C C C Wilson’s Phalarope R R R GULLS & TERNS ___ Laughing Gull U R U ___ Franklin’s Gull U U ___ Ring-billed Gull U U U ___ Least Tern R R ___ Gull-billed Tern U R U ___ Caspian Tern U U U ___ Black Tern U U ___ Forster’s Tern U U X U ___ Black Skimmer R R PIGEONS & DOVES ___ Rock Pigeon U U U ___*•Red-billed Pigeon R R ___ Eurasian Collared-Dove U U U ___* Inca Dove C C C ___* Common Ground-Dove C C C ___ Ruddy Ground-Dove X 7 U U C C W Sp Su F ___ Ruddy Quail-Dove X ___*•White-tipped Dove C C C ___* White-winged Dove R C C ___* Mourning Dove C C C C U C CUCKOOS & ANIS ___* Yellow-billed Cuckoo C C ___ Black-billed Cuckoo R X ___* Greater Roadrunner U U U U ___*•Groove-billed Ani R U C C BARN OWLS ___* Barn Owl U U U U TYPICAL OWLS ___* Eastern Screech-Owl C C C C ___* Great Horned Owl U U U U ___•Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl X X X X ___* Elf Owl X C U ___ Burrowing Owl R R ___ Mottled Owl X ___ Long-eared Owl R ___ Stygian Owl X ___ Short-eared Owl R NIGHTJARS ___* Lesser Nighthawk X C C U ___ Common Nighthawk X C C R ___*•Common Pauraque C C C C ___ Common Poorwill X X ___ Chuck-wills-widow C R ___ Eastern Whip-poor-will U U SWIFTS ___ Chimney Swift 8 C R R W Sp Su F HUMMINGBIRDS ___ Green Violetear X ___ Lucifer Hummingbird X ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird R C R C ___ Black-chinned Hummingbird U U U U ___ Anna’s Hummingbird X ___ Rufous Hummingbird U R ___ Allen’s Hummingbird X X ___ Broad-billed Hummingbird X ___*•Buff-bellied Hummingbird R U U U TROGONS ___ Elegant Trogon X KINGFISHERS ___*•Ringed Kingfisher U U U U ___ Belted Kingfisher U U U ___*•Green Kingfisher U U U U WOODPECKERS ___*•Golden-fronted Woodpecker C C C C ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker U R ___ Red-naped Sapsucker X ___* Ladder-backed Woodpecker C C C C ___ Northern Flicker R R FALCONS & CARACARAS ___ Collared Forest-Falcon X ___•Crested Caracara U U U U ___ American Kestrel C C C ___ Merlin R R R ___ Aplomado Falcon X ___ Peregrine Falcon R U R ___ Prairie Falcon X X 9 W Sp Su F PARROTS & PARAKEETS ___ • Green Parakeet X X X X TYRANT FLYCATCHERS ___*•N. Beardless-Tyrannulet U U U U ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher U U ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee C C ___ Yellow-bellied Flycatcher U C ___ Acadian Flycatcher U ___ Alder Flycatcher C C ___ Willow Flycatcher U U ___ Least Flycatcher C C ___ Gray Flycatcher X ___ Cordilleran Flycatcher X ___* Black Phoebe U U U U ___ Eastern Phoebe C U C ___ Say’s Phoebe R R ___ Vermilion Flycatcher U U U ___ Dusky-capped Flycatcher X ___ Ash-throated Flycatcher R ___ Great Crested Flycatcher C C ___* Brown-crested Flycatcher C C ___*•Great Kiskadee C C C C ___ Social Flycatcher X ___ Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher X ___ Piratic Flycatcher X ___•Tropical Kingbird R R R R ___*•Couch’s Kingbird R C C C ___* Western Kingbird U U U ___ Eastern Kingbird C C ___* Scissor-tailed Flycatcher R C C C 10 W Sp Su F BECARDS, TITYRAS ___ Masked Tityra X ___•Rose-throated Becard X X SHRIKES ___ Loggerhead Shrike U U U U VIREOS ___* White-eyed Vireo U U U U ___ Bell’s Vireo X R R ___ Yellow-throated Vireo R R ___ Blue-headed Vireo U R U ___ Warbling Vireo U U ___ Philadelphia Vireo R X ___ Red-eyed Vireo U U ___•Yellow-green Vireo R R JAYS & CROWS ___*•Green Jay C C C C ___ Blue Jay X ___•Tamaulipas Crow X ___ Chihuahuan Raven R R R LARKS ___* Horned Lark R R R R SWALLOWS ___ Purple Martin C C ___ Tree Swallow U U U ___ N. Rough-winged Swallow R U U U ___* Bank Swallow X C C C ___* Cliff Swallow U U U ___* Cave Swallow C C C U ___* Barn Swallow R C C C 11 W Sp Su F TITMICE ___* Black-crested Titmouse C C C C VERDINS ___* Verdin U U U U NUTHATCHES ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch R R CREEPERS ___ Brown Creeper R WRENS ___ House Wren C C C ___ Winter Wren R R ___ Sedge Wren R R R ___ Marsh Wren U U U ___ Carolina Wren R R R R ___* Bewick’s Wren R R R R ___* Cactus Wren R R R R GNATCATCHERS ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher C C C KINGLETS ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet R R ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet C C C THRUSHES ___ Eastern Bluebird U U U ___ Veery R ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush R ___ Swainson’s Thrush U ___ Hermit Thrush U U ___ Wood Thrush R ___*•Clay-colored Thrush U U U U ___ White-throated Thrush X X X 12 W ___ ___ ___ ___ Sp Su Rufous-backed Robin X American Robin U X Varied Thrush X Aztec Thrush X F R THRASHERS & MOCKINGBIRDS ___ Gray Catbird R R R ___* Curve-billed Thrasher U U U U ___*•Long-billed Thrasher C C C C ___ Sage Thrasher X ___* Northern Mockingbird C C C C STARLINGS ___ European Starling R R R R PIPITS ___ American Pipit U U U ___ Sprague’s Pipit R R R WAXWINGS ___ Cedar Waxwing U U WOOD WARBLERS ___ Ovenbird R U U ___ Worm-eating Warbler R R ___ Louisiana Waterthrush U U ___ Northern Waterthrush X U U ___ Golden-winged Warbler R ___ Blue-winged Warbler R X ___ Black-and-white Warbler U C U ___ Prothonotary Warbler X ___ Tennessee Warbler U R ___ Orange-crowned Warbler C C C ___ Nashville Warbler U C C ___ MacGillivray’s Warbler R R 13 W Sp Su F ___ Mourning Warbler U U ___ Kentucky Warbler R ___* Common Yellowthroat C C U C ___ Hooded Warbler R X ___ American Redstart U U ___ Cerulean Warbler R ___ Northern Parula R U U ___*•Tropical Parula R R R R ___ Magnolia Warbler R ___ Bay-breasted Warbler R ___ Blackburnian Warbler R ___ Yellow Warbler X C C ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler R ___ Palm Warbler X ___ Pine Warbler R R ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler C U ___ Yellow-throated Warbler R R ___ Black-throated Gray Warbler U R ___ Townsend’s Warbler R R ___ Black-throated Green Warbler R R R ___ Golden-crowned Warbler X ___ Canada Warbler U U ___ Wilson’s Warbler R U U ___ Painted Redstart X ___* Yellow-breasted Chat U U EMBERIZID FINCHES ___*•White-collared Seedeater X X ___ Yellow-faced Grassquit X ___*•Olive Sparrow C C C C ___ Green-tailed Towhee R R ___ Spotted Towhee X X 14 W ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ Sp Su F Cassin’s Sparrow R R Chipping Sparrow U U U Clay-colored Sparrow R R Field Sparrow R R Vesper Sparrow U U Lark Sparrow U U C U Black-throated Sparrow R Lark Bunting X Savannah Sparrow C C C Grasshopper Sparrow R R R Fox Sparrow X Song Sparrow X Lincoln’s Sparrow C U C Swamp Sparrow R R White-throated Sparrow R X White-crowned Sparrow R R Dark-eyed Junco X CARDINALS & GROSBEAKS ___ Summer Tanager R U U ___ Scarlet Tanager R ___ Western Tanager R X ___ Crimson-collared Grosbeak X X ___* Northern Cardinal C U U U ___ Pyrrhuloxia U R ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak R U U ___ Black-headed Grosbeak X ___•Blue Bunting R R ___ Blue Grosbeak U U U ___ Lazuli Bunting R R ___ Indigo Bunting C U U ___ Varied Bunting X X X X 15 W Sp Su F ___* Painted Bunting R ___ Dickcissel X U C R U U C BLACKBIRDS & ORIOLES ___* Red-winged Blackbird C C C C ___ Eastern Meadowlark R R R R ___ Western Meadowlark C C ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird X R R ___ Brewer’s Blackbird X X ___* Great-tailed Grackle C C C C ___* Bronzed Cowbird R C C R ___* Brown-headed Cowbird C C U C ___ Black-vented Oriole X ___* Orchard Oriole U C U ___* Hooded Oriole R U R ___ Bullock’s Oriole R R ___*•Altamira Oriole U U U U ___*•Audubon’s Oriole X X X ___ Baltimore Oriole U R C OLD WORLD FINCHES ___ House Finch X X X X ___ Red Crossbill X ___ Pine Siskin R R ___* Lesser Goldfinch U U U U ___ American Goldfinch U OLD WORLD SPARROWS ___* House Sparrow U 16 U U U CITATION Arvin, John C. August 2014. Birds of Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park: a field checklist. Natural Resources Program, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. In 1983, the Texas Legislature created the Special Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Fund. This fund may be used for nongame wildlife and endangered species research and conservation, habitat acquisition and development and dissemination of information pertaining to nongame management. Money for this fund is obtained through private donations and sale of nongame wildlife art prints and stamps. This fund now gives Texans a unique opportunity to help support this state’s valuable and sensitive nongame resources. Your individual contributions and purchases of nongame art prints and stamps will help determine the level of nongame conservation activities in Texas. 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Natural Resources Program Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 4200 Smith School Road Austin, Texas 78744 © 2020 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department PWD BK P4502-058B (4/20) In accordance with Texas Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries.