USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Bird Checklists of the United States

Desert National Wildlife Range

Las Vegas, Nevada


Birds of Desert National Wildlife Range

Desert National Wildlife range encompasses over 1.5 million acres of Mohave Desert in southern Nevada. The range was established by Executive Order in 1936 to conserve desert bighorn sheep, as well as the habitat vital to the sheep and other wildlife species.

Bird watching is a growing outdoor pastime that provides many hours of enjoyment in a natural environment. Over 240 different species of birds have been observed on the range.

Species diversity and density are highest in the vicinity of perennial springs.

Corn Creek Field Station, the main entrance to the range, has several spring-fed ponds and many types of vegetative cover. Consequently, this locality provides the best opportunity to observe the greatest number of birds. Corn Creek can be reached by traveling approximately 22 miles north of Las Vegas on Highway 95, where a sign on the east side of the highway marks the 4 miles of gravel road to the field station.

Helpful Hints

The best time to see the greatest variety of birds is during fall and spring migrations, especially in the early morning or late evening. Calm, mild days are preferable to windy, cold days. A field guide, binoculars or spotting scope, and appropriate clothing will aid in the location of the different species. When looking at a bird pay close attention to characteristics such as color, size, shape, wing, and head markings. Always observe first, then refer to your identification book, because the bird may not remain where it can be readily seen for a long period of time. Remember to take water if you plan to be gone from your vehicle for an extended period of time.


Codes for relative abundance and seasonal occurences of species are as follows:

c - common
u - uncommon
o - occasional
r - rare

Sp - March through May
S - June through August
F - September through November
W - December through February

* - birds known to nest locally
# - Endangered Species


GREBES Sp S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe* o r o o ___ Eared Grebe o - o - ___ Western Grebe o - o -
PELICANS & CORMORANTS Sp S F W ___ Double-crested Cormorant r r r r
BITTERNS, HERONS & EGRETS Sp S F W ___ American Bittern o - o - ___ Great Blue Heron o o o r ___ Great Egret o - o - ___ Snowy Egret o o o - ___ Green Heron r - - - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron o o o -
IBIS AND SPOONBILLS Sp S F W ___ White-faced Ibis o o o -
WATERFOWL Sp S F W ___ Greater White-fronted Goose r - r - ___ Canada Goose o - o - ___ Wood Duck o - - - ___ Green-winged Teal c u u c ___ Mallard c - c c ___ Northern Pintail u - u u ___ Blue-winged Teal r - r - ___ Cinnamon Teal c o c o ___ Northern Shoveler o - o o ___ Gadwall u - u u ___ American Wigeon o - o o ___ Canvasback r - r o ___ Redhead u - u u ___ Ring-necked Duck o - o o ___ Lesser Scaup o - o o ___ Common Goldeneye o - o o ___ Bufflehead u - u u ___ Ruddy Duck o - o o
VULTURES Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture u u u -
OSPREY, KITES, EAGLES & HAWKS Sp S F W ___ Osprey r - r - ___ Bald Eagle# r - r - ___ Northern Harrier u o u u ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk* u u u o ___ Cooper's Hawk* u u u u ___ Northern Goshawk* r r r r ___ Swainson's Hawk u - u - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* u u u o ___ Ferruginous Hawk - - - r ___ Rough-legged Hawk - - o o ___ Golden Eagle* c u u o
FALCONS Sp S F W ___ American Kestrel* c c c c ___ Merlin o r o o ___ Peregrine Falcon# r r r r ___ Prairie Falcon* u u u o
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS Sp S F W ___ Gambel's Quail* c c c c
RAILS Sp S F W ___ Virginia Rail r - - - ___ Sora o r o - ___ Common Moorhen* c c c c ___ American Coot* c c c c
PLOVERS Sp S F W ___ Killdeer* u o o -
STILTS & AVOCETS Sp S F W ___ Black-necked Stilt o - o - ___ American Avocet u - u -
SHOREBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Greater Yellowlegs o o o - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs - r - - ___ Solitary Sandpiper r - - - ___ Spotted Sandpiper u u u - ___ Long-billed Curlew o - o - ___ Marbled Godwit - - o - ___ Western Sandpiper o u o - ___ Least Sandpiper u - u - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher o - o -
SNIPE Sp S F W ___ Common Snipe u - o -
PHALAROPES Sp S F W ___ Wilson's Phalarope o - - - ___ Red Phalarope r - - -
GULLS & TERNS Sp S F W ___ Bonaparte's Gull o - o - ___ Ring-billed Gull o - - - ___ California Gull o - o - ___ Black Tern o - o -
DOVES Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove o o o o ___ Band-tailed Pigeon* o r o - ___ White-winged Dove r r r - ___ Mourning Dove* c c c r ___ Common Ground-Dove - - r -
CUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo o o o - ___ Greater Roadrunner* o o o o
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Barn Owl* u o u - ___ Flammulated Owl u c u - ___ Western Screech-Owl* o o u o ___ Great Horned Owl* o o o o ___ Northern Pygmy-Owl u u u u ___ Burrowing Owl o o o - ___ Long-eared Owl u o u o ___ Short-eared Owl - - - r ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl* o o o -
GOATSUCKERS Sp S F W ___ Lesser Nighthawk* u c u - ___ Common Nighthawk* u c u - ___ Common Poorwill* u c u - ___ Whip-poor-will* - r - -
SWIFTS Sp S F W ___ Vaux's Swift o - o - ___ White-throated Swift* u c u -
HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Black-chinned Hummingbird* u o u - ___ Anna's Hummingbird - - r - ___ Costa's Hummingbird o u - - ___ Calliope Hummingbird* r u r - ___ Broad-tailed Hummingbird* u c u - ___ Rufous Hummingbird o c u - ___ Allen's Hummingbird r - - -
KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher o - o -
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Lewis' Woodpecker o - o - ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker* c c c - ___ Red-breasted Sapsucker o r o r ___ Williamson's Sapsucker* o u o o ___ Ladder-backed Woodpecker* c o c c ___ Hairy Woodpecker* o o o o ___ Northern Flicker* u o u u
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher o u o - ___ Western Wood-Pewee* o u o - ___ Willow Flycatcher o u o - ___ Hammond's Flycatcher o - o - ___ Dusky Flycatcher* u c u - ___ Gray Flycatcher* o c o o ___ Western Flycatcher* o c o - ___ Black Phoebe* u u u - ___ Say's Phoebe* c c c u ___ Vermilion Flycatcher* o o o - ___ Ash-throated Flycatcher* o c o - ___ Cassin's Kingbird o - o - ___ Western Kingbird* c c c - ___ Eastern Kingbird - o - -
LARKS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* c c c c
SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Tree Swallow u c u - ___ Violet-green Swallow* c c c - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow u o u - ___ Bank Swallow r r r - ___ Cliff Swallow o u o - ___ Barn Swallow u o u -
JAYS, MAGPIES & CROWS Sp S F W ___ Steller's Jay* u u u u ___ Scrub Jay* c c c c ___ Pinyon Jay* c c c c ___ Clark's Nutcracker* c c c c ___ American Crow - - - r ___ Common Raven* u u u u
CHICKADEES & TITMICE Sp S F W ___ Mountain Chickadee* c c c c ___ Plain Titmouse* o u o o
VERDINS Sp S F W ___ Verdin* u o u u
BUSHTITS Sp S F W ___ Bushtit* c c c c
NUTHATCHES Sp S F W ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch* o u o o ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* u c u u ___ Pygmy Nuthatch* c c c c
CREEPERS Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper* u u u u
WRENS Sp S F W ___ Cactus Wren* o u o r ___ Rock Wren* c c c c ___ Canyon Wren* o o o o ___ Bewick's Wren* o u o o ___ House Wren* c u c - ___ Winter Wren - - - u ___ Marsh Wren* o o o o
KINGLETS, BLUEBIRDS & THRUSHES Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet u o r u ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet* u o u u ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* c c c c ___ Black-tailed Gnatcatcher* o o o o ___ Western Bluebird* o c o o ___ Mountain Bluebird u - o u ___ Townsend's Solitaire* u o u c ___ Swainson's Thrush u - u - ___ Hermit Thrush* o c o - ___ American Robin* c u c c ___ Varied Thrush - - u u
MOCKINGBIRDS & THRASHERS Sp S F W ___ Northern Mockingbird* c c c o ___ Sage Thrasher u o u o ___ Bendire's Thrasher* u u r - ___ Crissal Thrasher* o o o o ___ Le Conte's Thrasher* o o o o
WAGTAILS & PIPITS Sp S F W ___ American Pipit c - c c
WAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Bohemian Waxwing - - - r ___ Cedar Waxwing* u o u o
PHAINOPEPLA Sp S F W ___ Phainopepla* c c c c
SHRIKES Sp S F W ___ Loggerhead Shrike* c c c c
STARLINGS & MYNAS Sp S F W ___ European Starling* u u u c
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ Bell's Vireo o r - - ___ Gray Vireo* o u o - ___ Solitary Vireo* o c o - ___ Hutton's Vireo o - - - ___ Warbling Vireo* o o o - ___ Red-eyed Vireo r r r -
WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Tennessee Warbler r - r r ___ Orange-crowned Warbler u r u r ___ Nashville Warbler* u r u - ___ Virginia'a Warbler* u c u - ___ Lucy's Warbler* o r - - ___ Northern Parula r - r - ___ Yellow Warbler* u o u - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler - - r r ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler* c c c u ___ Black-throated Gray Warbler* u c u - ___ Townsend's Warbler u - u - ___ Hermit Warbler r - r - ___ Grace's Warbler* c c - - ___ Black-and-white Warbler r r r - ___ American Redstart o - o - ___ Northern Waterthrush o r o - ___ MacGillivray's Warbler u o c - ___ Common Yellowthroat* o o o - ___ Wilson's Warbler c u u - ___ Painted Redstart* r r - - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat* o r o -
TANAGERS Sp S F W ___ Summer Tanager r r r - ___ Western Tanager* u c u -
GROSBEAKS & BUNTINGS Sp S F W ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak r - r - ___ Black-headed Grosbeak* u c u - ___ Blue Grosbeak* u u u - ___ Lazuli Bunting o u o - ___ Indigo Bunting o o r -
TOWHEES & SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Green-tailed Towhee* c c c - ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* c c c c ___ Abert's Towhee - - o o ___ American Tree Sparrow r - r r ___ Chipping Sparrow* c c c - ___ Brewer's Sparrow* c u c r ___ Black-chinned Sparrow* o o - - ___ Vesper Sparrow o - o - ___ Lark Sparrow u - u - ___ Black-throated Sparrow* c c c r ___ Sage Sparrow* c u c c ___ Lark Bunting o - o o ___ Savannah Sparrow o - u o ___ Fox Sparrow c - c c ___ Song Sparrow* o o o o ___ Lincoln's Sparrow u - u - ___ Swamp Sparrow - - - o ___ White-throated Sparrow - - - o ___ Golden-crowned Sparrow r - r r ___ White-crowned Sparrow c - c c ___ Dark-eyed Junco* c c c c ___ Lapland Longspur - - o - ___ Chestnut-collared Longspur - - o -
BLACKBIRDS, MEADOWLARKS & ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Red-winged Blackbird* c u c c ___ Western Meadowlark* c o c c ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird* c o c r ___ Brewer's Blackbird c o c o ___ Great-tailed Grackle u - u u ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* u c u r ___ Hooded Oriole* u o o - ___ Bullock's Oriole* u c u - ___ Scott's Oriole* u u u -
FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Cassin's Finch* c c c c ___ House Finch* c c c c ___ Red Crossbill* u u u u ___ Pine Siskin* c c c c ___ Lesser Goldfinch* u o u o ___ American Goldfinch* o - o o ___ Evening Grosbeak o - o u
WEAVER FINCHES Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* c c c c

List of accidentals and rarities for the Desert National Wildlife Range:
Common Loon                                  Brown Thrasher
Least Bittern                                Northern Shrike
Cattle Egret                                 Yellow-throated Vireo
Wood Stork                                   Chestnut-sided Warbler
Snow Goose                                   Magnolia Warbler
White-winged Scoter                          Cape May Warbler
Hooded Merganser                             Black-throated Green Warbler
Common Merganser                             Blackburnian Warbler
Red-breasted Merganser                       Pine Warbler
Mississippi Kite                             Palm Warbler
Common Black-Hawk                            Bay-breasted Warbler
Red-shouldered Hawk                          Blackpoll Warbler
Broad-winged Hawk                            Worm-eating Warbler
Chukar                                       Ovenbird
Purple Gallinule                             Connecticut Warbler
Sandhill Crane                               Hooded Warbler
Black-bellied Plover                         Hepatic Tanager
Snowy Plover                                 Painted Bunting
Willet                                       Dickcissel
Pectoral Sandpiper                           Rufous-crowned Sparrow
Acorn Woodpecker                             Clay-colored Sparrow
Eastern Phoebe                               Grasshopper Sparrow
Dusky-capped Flycatcher                      Harris' Sparrow
Brown-crested Flycatcher                     McCown's Longspur
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher                    Bobolink
Purple Martin                                Rusty Blackbird
Black-billed Magpie                          Common Grackle
Veery                                        Orchard Oriole
Gray-cheeked Thrush                          Purple Finch
Wood Thrush                                  White-winged Crossbill
Gray Catbird                                 Lawrence's Goldfinch

Acknowledgements: We are indebted to the many visiting professional and amateur wildlife observers who have assisted the refuge staff by providing important wildlife observations throughout the years. Our list is not considered final as we are sure new observations will continue to add to its quality and accuracy. We encourage and appreciate all observations and ask that they be reported to refuge headquarters as soon as possible.

Desert National Wildlife Range is managed in conjunction with Pahranagat, Moapa, and Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuges. For additional information, contact:

                       Range Manager
                       Desert National Wildlife Range
                       Box 14, HCR 38
                       Las Vegas, Nevada 89124
                       Telephone: 702/646-3401

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1992.  Birds of Desert National Wildlife 
     Range, Nevada.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1992.  Birds of Desert National Wildlife 
     Range, Nevada.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Unpaginated.  
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govdesert.htm 
     (Version 26MAY98).

Return to Bird Checklists of Nevada
Return to Bird Checklists of the United States

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/chekbird/r1/desert.htm
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 18:38:44 EST
Menlo Park, CA [caww54]