From the roadrunner to the vermillion flycatcher, New Mexico has a vast variety of birds to observe and enjoy. There are 486 species found in New Mexico, and there are many great places to go bird watching, including Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Guadalupe Canyon. Some rare birds such as the American redstart and the little blue heron have even been spotted in New Mexico. The New Mexico Ornithology Society and Audubon New Mexico are dedicated to researching, preserving and watching the birds of New Mexico.
The roadrunner is the state bird of New Mexico. It is a ground bird that has a short tail and a shaggy crest. The roadrunner feeds on small prey such as snakes and scorpions. It will also go into bird houses and prey on small birds. The roadrunner does not need to drink a large amount of water; it can get the water it needs from the water content in its prey. The roadrunner is known for running fast, and it has been known to reach speeds of up to 19 miles per hour.
The black-throated sparrow is a desert bird that feeds on insects. It roams the ground instead of perching or flying when looking for food. It is gray with a black throat and some white markings on its face and tail. The black-throated sparrow are extremely cautious from nesting until their eggs are laid, keeping intruders out of a large territory until incubation begins. The population of the black-throated sparrow is dwindling in the United States because its land is being overrun by urban development.
The vermillion flycatcher is a small bird that lives in the scrub in New Mexico. The male has a bright red head with a dark brown body and white-tipped tail. The upper part of the female is grayish brown, with a white streaked chest and an orange color on the lower tail. They live in the woods and feed on insects. An interesting fact about the male vermillion flycatcher is that they spend most of their time perched on a branch, only leaving their spot occasionally to look for food. The male has also been known to bring the female a butterfly to initiate mating.
The curve-billed thrasher is a large songbird that lives in a range of habitats. It is grayish-brown with a slightly curved bill. It is the most common of the thrasher birds. The curve-billed thrasher lives in the thorn brush where there is cactus present and in semi-wooded areas around towns. The thrasher feeds on insects.
The Cassin's kingbird is a noisy bird that is easy to spot because of its dark gray head and chest and white-rimmed black tail. The belly part of the kingbird is yellow. They eat insects and are found in open woodlands. They nest high in trees and hunt by swooping down from their perches to snatch insects off the ground.