by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved
Birds of Brazos Bend State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.
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TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE BIRDS OF BRAZOS BEND S T A T E P A R K A FIELD CHECKLIST 2006 Cover: Illustration of Henslow’s Sparrow by Rob Fleming. November 2006 INTRODUCTION B razos Bend State Park, a 4,977-acre tract located in Fort Bend County, is situated next to the Brazos River and is representative of the rich wildlife habitat known most commonly as the “Brazos Bottomlands.” This habitat is typical of many riverine areas of the southeast part of Texas and adjacent Louisiana. The combination of bottomland hardwood forest, a major river, a large tributary, lakes, ponds, and grasslands provides food, cover and living areas for the wildlife indigenous to the area. The parkland supports three major terrestrial habitats: Live Oak woodland, bottomland hardwoods and tall grass coastal prairie. The Live Oak woodland has numerous large Live Oak trees festooned with Spanish Moss. This community occupies an ancient meander scarp of the Brazos River. The bottomland hardwoods consist of Pecan, Burr Oak, Water Oak, Live Oak and Elm. The tall grass coastal prairie has Little Bluestem, Indian Grass, Bushy Bluestem and Switchgrass. Some of the best terrestrial birding is at the transition zones where two habitats meet (i.e., tall grass coastal prairie/Live Oak woodland edge). Brazos Bend State Park has a rich and varied birdlife. Historically, Attwater’s Prairie Chicken occurred here. The large variety of resident species is joined at various times of the year by migrants going north or south, by species wintering within the upper Texas coastal area, or by species which nest in the park and migrate south for the winter. Thus, depending upon seasonal factors, there are large fluctuations in both the number of bird species and the number of individuals present in the park. In addition, like all areas bordering the Gulf of Mexico in the southern United States, weather plays an important role in the bird population within the park, especially during peak migration of neotropical species during spring and fall. For example, during late April or early May, a heavy thunderstorm can ground many birds, and after the storm passes the bird population of the park is noticeably greater for a brief period. 1 Though the park’s habitats are varied, the primary attractant for birdlife is the abundance of water within the park and along the Brazos River bordering the park’s east side. Particularly rewarding areas for birders are the park’s three largest water bodies —40 Acre, Elm and Pilant Lakes. Depending on the season, these lakes contain many wading birds, waterfowl, shorebirds and other species which are attracted to the woodlands bordering the lakes. 40 Acre and Elm Lakes are easily accessible by trails. Pilant Lake supports several large rookeries. Some nesting by wading birds also occurs at Elm Lake. Visitors should concentrate their bird-watching in these three areas if their time is limited. This checklist includes 304 species documented within the park itself and an adjacent area within the park’s 15-milediameter Christmas Bird Count (CBC) circle. In addition, a short list of several species to be expected is included at the end of the checklist. These species are expected because of the park’s habitat and the status of these species on the upper Texas coast. Of the species recorded, 88 have been confirmed as nesting within the park and adjacent area. Numerous species of reptiles, amphibians and mammals may also be found. Most visible are the American Alligator, Ninebanded Armadillo, White-tailed Deer and Raccoon. Feral hogs may also be seen and, as with the alligators, great care should be taken when around these animals. Originally this checklist was compiled by James G. Morgan and Ted Eubanks, Jr., based on their visits during a four-and-onehalf-year period prior to the opening of the park. Noteworthy contributors to this list were Kelly Bryan, Marilyn Crane, T. Paul and Margaret Jones, and Geneva LaVerne. Revisions and updates were completed in 2006 by Bill Godley and David Heinicke. You may contribute to this checklist by reporting new and unusual sightings or changes in status on the Sighting Report forms available at the park headquarters. Please forward the completed forms to the Natural Resource Program, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744. Nomenclature and order for this checklist are based on the Seventh Edition of the A.O.U. Check-list of North American Birds as currently supplemented. 2 Please help us protect the natural avian communities in our parks by refraining from using playback recordings of bird songs. Frequent use of recordings disrupts normal avian activity patterns, disrupts essential territorial behavior and may lead to nest failure. Thank you for your cooperation. LEGEND Spring: Summer: Fall: Winter: March – May June – July August – November December – February a – Abundant: 40 or more per day c – Common: 10–40 per day f – Fairly common: 4–10 per day u – Uncommon: Less than 4 per day r – Rare: 1–3 per season x – Accidental: Out of normal range * – Nest in the park and/or adjacent area CHECKLIST Spring Summer Fall Winter FAMILY ANATIDAE • Geese & Ducks * ___Black-bellied Whistling-Duck ___Fulvous Whistling-Duck ___Greater White-fronted Goose ___Snow Goose ___Ross’s Goose ___Cackling Goose ___Canada Goose ___Tundra Swan * ___Wood Duck 3 f u u u c u c u c c x r u f r r c c c u a a u r c x c Spring Summer Fall Winter ___Gadwall ___American Wigeon ___Mallard * ___Mottled Duck * ___Blue-winged Teal ___Cinnamon Teal ___Northern Shoveler ___Northern Pintail ___Green-winged Teal ___Canvasback ___Redhead ___Ring-necked Duck ___Greater Scaup ___Lesser Scaup ___White-winged Scoter ___Bufflehead ___Common Goldeneye ___Hooded Merganser ___Red-breasted Merganser ___Masked Duck ___Ruddy Duck f f u u c r c u f r u r c c c u c r c f f a a c u a u a a a u u a f r f u f r f u f r r x u u f x f r u r x f x f FAMILY PHAISANIDAE • Gallinaceous Birds * ___Wild Turkey u u u u FAMILY ODONTOPHORIDAE • New World Quail * ___Northern Bobwhite f f f f f c r x c u FAMILY GAVIIDAE • Loons ___Common Loon x FAMILY PODICIPEDIDAE • Grebes ___Least Grebe * ___Pied-billed Grebe ___Eared Grebe x c u FAMILY PELECANIDAE • Pelicans ___American White Pelican ___Brown Pelican u 4 c c r Spring Summer Fall Winter FAMILY PHALACROCORACIDAE • Cormorants ___Neotropic Cormorant r ___Double-crested Cormorant c u f r c FAMILY ANHINGIDAE • Anhingas * ___Anhinga c c f c FAMILY ARDEIDAE • Herons ___American Bittern * ___Least Bittern * ___Great Blue Heron * ___Great Egret * ___Snowy Egret * ___Little Blue Heron ___Tricolored Heron ___Reddish Egret * ___Cattle Egret * ___Green Heron * ___Black-crowned Night-Heron * ___Yellow-crowned Night-Heron u u f c f f f c f u c f f f c f f f x c c u c FAMILY THRESKIORNITHIDAE • Ibises & Spoonbills * ___White Ibis a a ___Glossy Ibis r ___White-faced Ibis f f * ___Roseate Spoonbill u c f c f f f f c f f f c f u c u r c r a a x c r f f FAMILY CICONIIDAE • Storks ___Wood Stork f f FAMILY CATHARTIDAE • American Vultures * ___Black Vulture c * ___Turkey Vulture c c c c a c a r r r r u u u FAMILY ACCIPITRIDAE • Kites & Hawks Subfamily Pandioninae • Ospreys ___Osprey r Subfamily Accipitrinae • Accipters ___Swallow-tailed Kite r * ___White-tailed Kite u 5 Spring Summer Fall Winter * ___Mississippi Kite ___Bald Eagle ___Northern Harrier ___Sharp-shinned Hawk ___Cooper’s Hawk ___Harris’s Hawk * ___Red-shouldered Hawk ___Broad-winged Hawk ___Swainson’s Hawk * ___White-tailed Hawk * ___Red-tailed Hawk ___Ferruginous Hawk ___Rough-legged Hawk ___Golden Eagle FAMILY FALCONIDAE • Falcons * ___Crested Caracara ___American Kestrel ___Merlin ___Peregrine Falcon u u r u u c c u u r u c f u r r u u r FAMILY RALLIDAE • Rails, Coots & Gallinules ___King Rail u ___Virginia Rail r ___Sora r * ___Purple Gallinule f * ___Common Moorhen c * ___American Coot c FAMILY GRUIDAE • Cranes ___Sandhill Crane ___Whooping Crane r f r r c 6 f c r r r u f u u r c x r c r x x f c u r u r c c u f FAMILY CHARADRIIDAE • Plovers ___Black-bellied Plover ___American Golden-Plover ___Snowy Plover ___Wilson’s Plover ___Semipalmated Plover * ___Killdeer c r u u u r c f u r f u f c c f c c x u r c r c c Spring Summer Fall Winter FAMILY RECURVIROSTRIDAE • Stilts * ___Black-necked Stilt ___American Avocet FAMILY SCOLOPACIDAE • Sandpipers ___Spotted Sandpiper ___Solitary Sandpiper ___Greater Yellowlegs ___Willet ___Lesser Yellowlegs ___Upland Sandpiper ___Long-billed Curlew ___Ruddy Turnstone ___Semipalmated Sandpiper ___Western Sandpiper ___Least Sandpiper ___Baird’s Sandpiper ___Pectoral Sandpiper ___Dunlin ___Stilt Sandpiper ___Long-billed Dowitcher ___Wilson’s Snipe ___American Woodcock f c r f u u u u u u f u u u u c f u r x u u c u u f u u u u c x u r r u u u f FAMILY LARIDAE • Gulls, Terns & Skimmers Subfamily Larinae • Gulls ___Laughing Gull u ___Franklin’s Gull u ___Ring-billed Gull ___Herring Gull Subfamily Sterninae • Terns ___Least Tern u ___Caspian Tern u ___Black Tern u ___Forster’s Tern ___Royal Tern Subfamily Rynchopinae • Skimmers ___Black Skimmer x 7 u x u u u u u u u x u u u u u u u c r r f r r u x u u r BRAZOS BEND STATE PARK TRAILS 8 9 Spring Summer Fall Winter FAMILY COLUMBIDAE • Doves * ___Rock Pigeon * ___Eurasian Collared-Dove * ___White-winged Dove * ___Mourning Dove * ___Inca Dove * ___Common Ground-Dove f c u c u u FAMILY CUCULIDAE • Cuckoos & Roadrunners Subfamily Coccyzinae • Cuckoos * ___Yellow-billed Cuckoo f ___Black-billed Cuckoo r Subfamily Neomorphinae • Roadrunners ___Greater Roadrunner r Subfamily Crotophaginae • Anis ___Groove-billed Ani FAMILY TYTONIDAE • Barn Owls * ___Barn Owl f c u c f c u c u f f c u c u u f r u u u u r u f r u f r u f r r u c r FAMILY CAPRIMULGIDAE • Nightjars * ___Common Nighthawk ___Chuck-Will’s-Widow f r f f FAMILY APODIDAE • Swifts ___Chimney Swift f u u FAMILY TROCHILIDAE • Hummingbirds * ___Ruby-throated Hummingbird f ___Black-chinned Hummingbird f ___Rufous Hummingbird r u u f f r FAMILY STRIGIDAE • Owls * ___Eastern Screech-Owl * ___Great Horned Owl * ___Barred Owl ___Burrowing Owl 10 r r Spring Summer Fall Winter FAMILY ALCEDINIDAE • Kingfishers ___Ringed Kingfisher * ___Belted Kingfisher FAMILY PICIDAE • Woodpeckers ___Red-headed Woodpecker ___Golden-fronted Woodpecker * ___Red-bellied Woodpecker ___Yellow-bellied Sapsucker * ___Ladder-backed Woodpecker ___Downy Woodpecker ___Hairy Woodpecker ___Northern Flicker * ___Pileated Woodpecker r u x u r c u r f f f FAMILY TYRANNIDAE • Flycatchers ___Olive-sided Flycatcher * ___Eastern Wood-Pewee ___Yellow-bellied Flycatcher * ___Acadian Flycatcher ___Alder Flycatcher ___Willow Flycatcher ___Least Flycatcher ___Black Phoebe ___Eastern Phoebe ___Say’s Phoebe ___Vermilion Flycatcher ___Ash-throated Flycatcher * ___Great Crested Flycatcher ___Brown-crested Flycatcher ___Great Kiskadee ___Couch’s Kingbird ___Western Kingbird * ___Eastern Kingbird * ___Scissor-tailed Flycatcher FAMILY LANIIDAE • Shrikes * ___Loggerhead Shrike 11 r f u c r r r x u x u f x x c r f c f r f f f f u r x c f r f r f f r u r c r f u c x u f x c x u r f x r f c f c f c f f f x f Spring Summer Fall Winter FAMILY VIREONIDAE • Vireos * ___White-eyed Vireo ___Blue-headed Vireo * ___Yellow-throated Vireo ___Warbling Vireo ___Philadelphia Vireo * ___Red-eyed Vireo c u u r u u u f u u u r u FAMILY CORVIDAE • Jays & Crows * ___Blue Jay * ___American Crow f c f c f a FAMILY ALAUDIDAE • Larks ___Horned Lark u u FAMILY HIRUNDINIDAE • Swallows * ___Purple Martin ___Tree Swallow ___Northern Rough-winged Swallow ___Bank Swallow * ___Cliff Swallow * ___Cave Swallow * ___Barn Swallow f c c u c u c c u u u c u f c u u u c FAMILY PARIDAE • Chickadees & Titmice * ___Carolina Chickadee c * ___Tufted Titmouse c c c c c c u f f a u FAMILY SITTIDAE • Nuthatches ___Red-breasted Nuthatch r u r c c r FAMILY CERTHIIDAE • Creepers ___Brown Creeper u FAMILY TROGLODYTIDAE • Wrens * ___Carolina Wren ___Bewick’s Wren ___House Wren ___Winter Wren 12 c u r c u u c c r u r u r Spring Summer Fall Winter ___Sedge Wren ___Marsh Wren r u u u u u FAMILY REGULIDAE • Kinglets ___Golden-crowned Kinglet ___Ruby-crowned Kinglet u c u c u c FAMILY SYLVIDAE • Gnatcatchers ___Blue-gray Gnatcatcher f c c FAMILY TURDIDAE • Thrushes * ___Eastern Bluebird ___Swainson’s Thrush ___Hermit Thrush * ___Wood Thrush ___American Robin f u u u c f u u u f c c FAMILY MIMIDAE • Mimic Thrushes ___Gray Catbird * ___Northern Mockingbird ___Brown Thrasher f f u c u f u u f f FAMILY STURNIDAE • Starlings * ___European Starlin c c c a FAMILY MOTACILLIDAE • Pipits ___American Pipit ___Sprague’s Pipit ___Cedar Waxwing f r f f c r f FAMILY PARULIDAE • Wood Warblers ___Blue-winged Warbler ___Tennessee Warbler ___Orange-crowned Warbler ___Nashville Warbler * ___Northern Parula ___Tropical Parula ___Yellow Warbler ___Chestnut-sided Warbler 13 u f f u c f u f u r f c u u f u f x u u f c r r r Spring Summer Fall Winter ___Magnolia Warbler ___Yellow-rumped Warbler ___Black-throated Green Warbler ___Blackburnian Warbler * ___Yellow-throated Warbler ___Pine Warbler ___Prairie Warbler ___Palm Warbler ___Bay-breasted Warbler ___Blackpoll Warbler ___Cerulean Warbler ___Black-and-white Warbler ___American Redstart * ___Prothonotary Warbler ___Worm-eating Warbler ___Swainson’s Warbler ___Ovenbird ___Northern Waterthrush ___Louisiana Waterthrush ___Kentucky Warbler ___Mourning Warbler * ___Common Yellowthroat ___Hooded Warbler ___Wilson’s Warbler ___Canada Warbler ___Yellow-breasted Chat u c f u u u r u u r r f u c r r r u u u r f f u u f FAMILY THRAUPIDAE • Tanagers * ___Summer Tanager ___Scarlet Tanager ___Western Tanager u r r FAMILY EMBEREIZIDAE • Sparrows ___Green-tailed Towhee ___Eastern Towhee ___Spotted Towhee ___Chipping Sparrow ___Field Sparrow ___Vesper Sparrow 14 u c u u r a r x u r u f r f f u u u r x r u u u r f u f u u r u r r c r r r u u u u u u x r r f u u c u x r r c u c Spring Summer Fall Winter ___Lark Sparrow ___Lark Bunting ___Savannah Sparrow ___Grasshopper Sparrow ___Henslow’s Sparrow ___Le Conte’s Sparrow ___Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow ___Fox Sparrow ___Song Sparrow ___Lincoln’s Sparrow ___Swamp Sparrow ___White-throated Sparrow ___White-crowned Sparrow ___Harris’s Sparrow ___Dark-eyed Junco ___Lapland Longspur c r x c u f f c u f u c c f u u FAMILY CARDINALIDAE • Cardinals, Grosbeaks & Buntings * ___Northern Cardinal a a a ___Pyrrhuloxia ___Rose-breasted Grosbeak r r ___Black-headed Grosbeak ___Blue Grosbeak u r * ___Indigo Bunting f f u * ___Painted Bunting f f u * ___Dickcissel f c FAMILY ICTERIDAE • Orioles & Blackbirds ___Bobolink * ___Red-winged Blackbird a * ___Eastern Meadowlark c ___Yellow-headed Blackbird ___Rusty Blackbird ___Brewer’s Blackbird ___Common Grackle c * ___Boat-tailed Grackle f * ___Great-tailed Grackle f * ___Brown-headed Cowbird c * ___Orchard Oriole u 15 c c c f f c u a c r u c u u a f r a r u f x u f f c c u r u r a x x x a c r u c u c a Spring Summer Fall Winter ___Streak-backed Oriole ___Bullock’s Oriole ___Baltimore Oriole x x u FAMILY FRINGILLIDAE • Finches ___Purple Finch ___Pine Siskin ___American Goldfinch u c FAMILY PASSERIDAE • Weavers * ___House Sparrow f f r f x x r u r u c f f UPPER TEXAS COAST SPECIES NOT YET SEEN BUT TO BE EXPECTED Whip-poor-will Gray-cheeked Thrush Veery Golden-winged Warbler CITATION Godley, Bill and David Heinicke. 2006. Birds of Brazos Bend State Park: A Field Checklist. Natural Resource Program, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 16 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. For more information call toll-free (1-800-792-1112) or contact: Nongame and Endangered Species Program, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744. Natural Resources Program Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 4200 Smith School Road Austin, Texas 78744 © 2006 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department PWD BK P4504-110B (11/06) In accordance with Texas Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries.