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Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge

small state map showing location

Sasabe, Arizona


Although Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge is located in the Sonoran Desert, don't expect a saguaro studded landscape. Instead, you'll find a rolling sea of grass stretching to the horizon, a cottonwood lined stream, rocky canyons, and a rare desert wetland. This habitat diversity makes for excellent birding. This guide is arranged by habitat to help you locate some of the 314 species of birds recorded on the refuge. A majority of the refuge is an extensive grassland. Test your birding skills on the flocks of sparrows along Antelope Drive. Watch for golden eagles in winter and white-tailed kites in summer. Loggerhead shrikes, imperiled elsewhere in the west, are plentiful at Buenos Aires NWR. Many southwestern birds can be found right outside the Visitor Center at headquarters, where Gambel's quail, canyon towhee, and curve-billed thrasher feast on shrubs and at feeders.

Check out Aguirre Lake, near headquarters, and other ponds scattered throughout the refuge. If it's been a wet year, you'll find migrating shorebirds, white-faced ibis, and wintering waterfowl. Ponds surrounded by brush may produce green-tailed towhee and crissal thrasher.

Plan to spend at least one full day exploring Arivaca Cienega and Creek on our eastern boundary. You might get a glimpse of a sora or Virginia rail from the boardwalk at Arivaca Cienega as they tip-toe through the cattails. Overhead, brilliant red vermilion flycatchers snap up meals on the wing. In spring and summer, the mournful call of gray hawks fills the air.

Colorful orioles, tanagers, and warblers adorn the trail at Arivaca Creek in spring and summer. Owls, woodpeckers, and sapsuckers appreciate the cottonwood/hackberry/mesquite woodland all year. A short trail follows the creek before ascending to El Cerro on the Mustang Trail.

Ten types of hummingbirds, painted redstarts, sulphur-bellied flycatchers, and zone-tailed hawks are just some of the higher elevation birds found in sycamore-lined Brown Canyon. At this time, the canyon is open by guided tour only; call for a current schedule or to make reservations.

Join A Guided Tour: Public tours are offered November-April. Group tours and slide programs may be scheduled throughout the year. Recent observations are posted at headquarters and Arivaca, please report your observations.


Status (S)
+ - only a few records
* - breeding records for refuge
# - records not documented

Habitat
Ci - Cienega
Cr - Creek
B - Brown Canyon
G - Grasslands
H - Headquarters
A - Aguirre Lake

Abundance
r - resident all year
w - winter visitor, may arrive early fall, leave late spring
m - migration spring and/or fall
s - present during summer, may be migrating


GREBES & PELICANS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Pied-billed Grebe r - - - - r ___ Eared Grebe - - - - - m ___ Western Grebe + - - - - - w ___ American White Pelican - - - - - m ___ Brown Pelican - - - - - s ___ Double-crested Cormorant + - - - - - s
BITTERNS, HERONS & EGRETS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ American Bittern + w - - - - m ___ Least Bittern + m - - - - - ___ Great Blue Heron r - - - - r ___ Great Egret w - - - - m ___ Snowy Egret m - - - - s ___ Little Blue Heron + - - - - - m ___ Cattle Egret m - - - - m ___ Green Heron * s - - - - s ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron * s - - - - s
IBIS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ White-faced Ibis s - - - - m
WATERFOWL S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Black-bellied Whistling-Duck * s - - - - s ___ Greater White-fronted Goose + - - - - - m ___ Snow Goose + w - - - - m ___ Canada Goose + w - - - - w ___ Wood Duck + - w - w - - ___ Green-winged Teal + w - - - - w ___ Mallard * r - - - - r ___ Northern Pintail w - - - - w ___ Garganey + - - - - - m ___ Blue-winged Teal w - - - - m ___ Cinnamon Teal * r - - - - r ___ Northern Shoveler w - - - - w ___ Gadwall w - - - - w ___ Eurasian Wigeon + w - - - - w ___ American Wigeon w - - - - w ___ Canvasback w - - - - w ___ Redhead w - - - - w ___ Ring-necked Duck w - - - - w ___ Lesser Scaup + w - - - - m ___ Oldsquaw + - - - - - w ___ Common Goldeneye + - - - - - w ___ Bufflehead w - - - - w ___ Hooded Merganser + - - - - - w ___ Common Merganser - - - - - w ___ Red-breasted Merganser + - - - - - w ___ Ruddy Duck w - - - - r
HAWKS, EAGLES, KITES, VULTURES S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Black Vulture s s - s s s ___ Turkey Vulture s s s s s s ___ Osprey + m m - m - m ___ White-tailed Kite * - - - s - s ___ Northern Harrier r - - r r r ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk w w w w w w ___ Cooper's Hawk * r r r r r r ___ Common Black-Hawk m m - m - - ___ Harris' Hawk + w - - - - w ___ Gray Hawk * s s - - - - ___ Red-shouldered Hawk + w - - - - - ___ Swainson's Hawk - - - s s - ___ Zone-tailed Hawk * m m s - - - ___ Red-tailed Hawk * r r r r r r ___ Ferruginous Hawk w - - w - w ___ Rough-legged Hawk + - - - - w w ___ Golden Eagle w - r w - - ___ Crested Caracara + - - - w w - ___ American Kestrel * r r r r r r ___ Merlin w - w w w w ___ Peregrine Falcon w - - - w w ___ Prairie Falcon - - - w w w
QUAIL S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Montezuma Quail * - - r r - - ___ Northern Bobwhite (Masked) * - - - r r r ___ Scaled Quail * - - - r r r ___ Gambel's Quail * r r r r r r
RAILS & CRANES S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Virginia Rail * r - - - - - ___ Sora * r - - - - - ___ American Coot * r - - - - r ___ Common Moorhen * r - - - - - ___ Sandhill Crane + - - - - - w
WADING BIRDS/SHOREBIRDS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Semipalmated Plover - - - - - s ___ Killdeer * r - - - r r ___ Black-necked Stilt - - - - - m ___ Greater Yellowlegs w - - - - s ___ Lesser Yellowlegs - - - - - s ___ American Avocet + - - - - - m ___ Solitary Sandpiper m - m - - s ___ Willet - - - - - m ___ Spotted Sandpiper - - - - - s ___ Long-billed Curlew - - - - s s ___ Marbled Godwit + - - - - - m ___ Western Sandpiper - - - - - s ___ Least Sandpiper - - - - - s ___ White-rumped Sandpiper + - - - - - m ___ Baird's Sandpiper + - - - - - m ___ Dunlin + - - - - - m ___ Long-billed Dowitcher - - - - - m ___ Common Snipe w m - - - m ___ American Woodcock # - m - - - - ___ Wilson's Phalarope - - - - - s ___ Red-necked Phalarope + - - - - - m ___ Red Phalarope + - - - - m -
GULLS & TERNS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Bonaparte's Gull + - - - - - m ___ Heerman's Gull # - - - - - w ___ Ring-billed Gull w - - - w w ___ California Gull + - - - - m - ___ Forster's Tern - - - - - m ___ Least Tern + m - - - - m ___ Black Tern - - - - - m
DOVES S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Rock Dove + - - - - w - ___ Band-tailed Pigeon + s - m - - - ___ White-winged Dove * w s s s s s ___ Mourning Dove * r r r r r r ___ Inca Dove s w - - w w ___ Common Ground-Dove * r w - - - w ___ Ruddy Ground-Dove + w - - - - -
CUCKOOS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo * s s s - - s ___ Greater Roadrunner * r r r r r r ___ Groove-billed Ani + m - - - - -
OWLS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Barn Owl * - r - r r r ___ Western Screech-Owl * r r r - r - ___ Whiskered Screech-Owl * - s s - - - ___ Great Horned Owl * r r r r r r ___ Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl + - s - - - - ___ Elf Owl * - s s - - - ___ Burrowing Owl - - - m m - ___ Long-eared Owl + - - - w - - ___ Short-eared Owl - - - w w - ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl + - w - - - -
NIGHTHAWKS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Lesser Nighthawk * s s s s s s ___ Common Nighthawk s s s s s s ___ Common Poorwill * r r r r r r ___ Buff-collared Nightjar * - s s - - - ___ Whip-poor-will * - - s - - -
SWIFTS & HUMMINGBIRDS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Vaux's Swift m - s - m - ___ White-throated Swift * s - s - m m ___ Broad-billed Hummingbird * s s s - - - ___ Violet-crowned Hummingbird + - - s - - - ___ Magnificent Hummingbird + - - s - - - ___ Black-chinned Hummingbird * s s s s s s ___ Anna's Hummingbird * m - r - w w ___ Costa's Hummingbird * s s s s s - ___ Calliope Hummingbird + - - m - - - ___ Broad-tailed Hummingbird - m m - - - ___ Blue-throated Hummingbird + - - - - m - ___ Rufous Hummingbird m - m m m - ___ Allen's Hummingbird - - m m m -
TROGONS & KINGFISHERS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Elegant Trogon + - - s - - - ___ Belted Kingfisher w - - - - m ___ Green Kingfisher w - - - - -
WOODPECKERS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Lewis' Woodpecker + w - w - - - ___ Acorn Woodpecker * - - r - - - ___ Gila Woodpecker * r r r r r r ___ Red-naped Sapsucker w w w - - - ___ Red-breasted Sapsucker + - w w - - - ___ Williamson's Sapsucker + - - w - w - ___ Ladder-backed Woodpecker * r r r - s - ___ Strickland's Woodpecker - - r - - - ___ Northern Flicker * r r r r r r ___ Gilded Flicker - - r r m -
FLYCATCHERS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet * s s s - - - ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher - - s - - - ___ Greater Pewee - m - - - - ___ Western Wood-Pewee * - s s - - - ___ Hammond's Flycatcher - m - - - - ___ Dusky Flycatcher w w w - - - ___ Gray Flycatcher w w w w w w ___ Pacific Slope Flycatcher m s - - - - ___ Cordilleran Flycatcher - s m - - - ___ Buff-breasted Flycatcher + - m - - - - ___ Black Phoebe * r r r - r r ___ Eastern Phoebe + w w - - - - ___ Say's Phoebe * r r r r r r ___ Vermilion Flycatcher * r r r r r r ___ Dusky-capped Flycatcher * s s s - - - ___ Ash-throated Flycatcher * s s s s - - ___ Brown-crested Flycatcher * s s s - - - ___ Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher * - - s - - - ___ Tropical Kingbird * s - s - - - ___ Cassin's Kingbird * s s s s s s ___ Thick-billed Kingbird * s s - - - - ___ Western Kingbird * s s m m - - ___ Rose-throated Becard + - s - - - -
LARKS & SWALLOWS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Horned Lark * - - - r r r ___ Purple Martin - - - s - s ___ Tree Swallow s - - - - m ___ Violet-green Swallow m - m - - s ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow * m s - - - s ___ Bank Swallow + m - - - m m ___ Cliff Swallow s - - - s s ___ Barn Swallow * s - - - s s
JAYS & RAVENS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Western Scrub-Jay - - r - - - ___ Mexican Jay * - - r - - - ___ Chihuahuan Raven * r r r r r r ___ Common Raven * r r r r r r
TITMOUSE, VERDIN, WRENS & OTHERS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Bridled Titmouse * w w r - - - ___ Plain Titmouse + - - w - - - ___ Verdin * r r r r r r ___ Bushtit - - r r - - ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch + - - - - w - ___ White-breasted Nuthatch w w w - - - ___ Brown Creeper + - w w - - - ___ Cactus Wren * r r r r r r ___ Rock Wren * w w r - - - ___ Canyon Wren * w m r - - - ___ Bewick's Wren * r r r r r r ___ House Wren w w r - - - ___ Winter Wren - w - - - - ___ Marsh Wren r - - - - - ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet w w w - - - ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher * - r r - - - ___ Black-tailed Gnatcatcher * - r r r - -
BLUEBIRDS, THRUSHES & THRASHERS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Western Bluebird - w w w - - ___ Mountain Bluebird - w - - - w ___ Townsend's Solitaire + w - m w - - ___ Swainson's Thrush - m m - - - ___ Hermit Thrush - w w - - - ___ Rufous-backed Robin + - - - - w - ___ American Robin - w w - w - ___ Varied Thrush + - - - - w - ___ Northern Mockingbird * s - r - s s ___ Sage Thrasher w - - w w - ___ Bendire's Thrasher - - w s s - ___ Curve-billed Thrasher * r r r r r r ___ Crissal Thrasher * - r r r - r
PIPITS, WAXWINGS & OTHERS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ American Pipit w - w - - m ___ Sprague's Pipit + w - - w - - ___ Cedar Waxwing - w m - m - ___ Phainopepla * s s r s s - ___ Loggerhead Shrike * r - - r r r ___ European Starling * r r r - r -
VIREOS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Bell's Vireo * s s s s s s ___ Solitary Vireo * - m s - - - ___ Hutton's Vireo * - w r - - - ___ Warbling Vireo m m m - - m
WARBLERS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Orange-crowned Warbler - m w - - - ___ Nashville Warbler m m m - - - ___ Virginia's Warbler - - m - - - ___ Lucy's Warbler * s s s s s s ___ Northern Parula + - m - - - - ___ Yellow Warbler * s s s - - m ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's) w w m w w w ___ Black-throated Gray Warbler - m s - - - ___ Townsend's Warbler - m m - - - ___ Hermit Warbler - m m - m - ___ Black-throated Green Warbler + - m - - - - ___ Grace's Warbler + - - m - - - ___ Palm Warbler m m - - m m ___ American Redstart + m - s - - - ___ Northern Waterthrush m m - - - - ___ MacGillivray's Warbler m m m - - - ___ Common Yellowthroat * r r - - - w ___ Hooded Warbler + - - m - - - ___ Wilson's Warbler m m m m m m ___ Painted Redstart * m m r - - - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat * s s s - - -
TANAGERS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Hepatic Tanager * - - s - - - ___ Summer Tanager * s s s - - - ___ Western Tanager * m m s - m -
CARDINALS, GROSBEAKS & TOWHEES S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Northern Cardinal * r r r r r r ___ Pyrrhuloxia * r r r r r r ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak + - s - - - - ___ Black-headed Grosbeak * s s s s s s ___ Blue Grosbeak * s s s s s s ___ Lazuli Bunting s m s s m s ___ Indigo Bunting * - m s - - - ___ Varied Bunting * s s s - - - ___ Painted Bunting + - m - - - - ___ Dickcissel + - w - - - - ___ Green-tailed Towhee - w w w w - ___ Spotted Towhee * - w r - - - ___ Canyon Towhee * r r r r r r ___ Abert's Towhee * - r r - - -
SPARROWS & ALLIES S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Botteri's Sparrow * - - - s s - ___ Cassin's Sparrow * r r r r r r ___ Rufous-winged Sparrow * - r r r - - ___ Rufous-crowned Sparrow * r r r r - - ___ Chipping Sparrow w w w w w w ___ Clay-colored Sparrow + - - - w - - ___ Brewer's Sparrow w w w w w w ___ Black-chinned Sparrow - - w - - - ___ Vesper Sparrow w w w w w w ___ Lark Sparrow * r r - r r r ___ Black-throated Sparrow * - - r r r - ___ Sage Sparrow + - - - w - - ___ Five-striped Sparrow + - - - w - - ___ Lark Bunting - - w w - w ___ Savannah Sparrow w - - w w w ___ Baird's Sparrow + - - - w w - ___ Grasshopper Sparrow * - - - r - r ___ Fox Sparrow + - - w - - - ___ Song Sparrow * r r - - - r ___ Lincoln's Sparrow w w w w w w ___ Swamp Sparrow w - - - - - ___ White-throated Sparrow - m - - m - ___ Golden-crowned Sparrow - - m w - - ___ White-crowned Sparrow w w w w w w ___ Dark-eyed Junco - w w - - - ___ Yellow-eyed Junco + - - w - - -
LONGSPURS, BLACKBIRDS & ORIOLES S Ci Cr B G H A ___ McCown's Longspur + - - - w - - ___ Chestnut-collared Longspur + - - - w - - ___ Red-winged Blackbird * r - - - - s ___ Eastern Meadowlark * r - - r r r ___ Western Meadowlark - - s r r r ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird m - s - s s ___ Rusty Blackbird + - - - - w - ___ Brewer's Blackbird w - - w w w ___ Great-tailed Grackle * r - - - r r ___ Bronzed Cowbird * s s s s s s ___ Brown-headed Cowbird * s s s s s s ___ Hooded Oriole * s s s s s s ___ Streak-backed Oriole + w - - - - - ___ Bullock's Oriole * s s s s s s ___ Scott's Oriole * - - s s - -
SISKINS & FINCHES S Ci Cr B G H A ___ Pine Siskin w - m - m - ___ Cassin's Finch + - - - w - - ___ House Finch * r r r r r r ___ Lesser Goldfinch * r r r r r r ___ Lawrence's Goldfinch + w w - - - w ___ American Goldfinch + w - - - - -
OLD WORLD SPARROWS S Ci Cr B G H A ___ House Sparrow * r r r - r -

For additional information, or to report injuries, accidents and vandalism contact:
                   Refuge Manager
                   Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge
                   Box 109
                   Sasabe, Arizona 85633
                   Telephone: 520/823-4251

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  No date.  Birds at Buenos Aires National 
     Wildlife Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  No date.  Birds at Buenos Aires National 
     Wildlife Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govbuenos2.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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