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Bird Checklists of the United States

Cibola National Wildlife Refuge

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Cibola, Arizona


The Cibola National Wildlife Refuge is located along the lower Colorado River 20 miles south of Blythe, California. Approximately two-thirds of the refuge is in Arizona and one-third is in California. It encompasses 16,627 acres and is 12 miles long, joining the Imperial NWR on the south. The refuge was established in 1964 to mitigate the loss of fish and wildlife habitat involved in the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's water salvage and channelization projects along the Colorado River.

The main portion of the refuge is alluvial river bottom with dense growths of salt cedar, mesquite, and arrowweed. Through this flows the Colorado River, in both a dredged channel and a portion of its original channel. The refuge also contains 2,000 acres of farmland and 785 acres of desert foothills and ridges.

Although there are birds to be observed year-round, the spring and fall months, with their seasonal migration, offer the greatest variety of species.

Nesting birds include the great egret, great blue heron, night-herons, bitterns, clapper rails, white-winged doves as well as common yellowthroat, phainopepla, northern mockingbird, Lucy's warbler, and other song birds.

The endangered Yuma clapper rail, the only freshwater form of clapper rail, is found in suitable marshes throughout the refuge. Cibola NWR is important as a wintering ground for the western (or Great Basin) subspecies of Canada goose and for Sandhill Cranes. Many ducks, primarily pintail, wigeon, and green-winged teal, also spend a portion of the winter here.

One group of birds, known as Neotropical migrants, are those species that nest in the United States or Canada, and spend the winter primarily south of our border in Mexico, Central or South America, or in the Caribbean. Many of them, including conspicuous or colorful hawks, hummingbirds, warblers, and orioles, and less colorful but no less important shorebirds, flycatchers, and thrushes, are experiencing population declines due to widespread loss of habitats important for their survival. Preservation of many different habitats for nesting, wintering, and migratory stopover sites is becoming vital for the survival of many of these birds. Those Neotropical migrants occuring on this refuge are identified with a "#".

This list was developed from refuge records and information obtained from ornithologists and veteran birders. It contains 244 species. Species are listed in accordance with the sixth edition (1983) A.O.U. checklist.


* - Nests on the refuge
# - Neotropical migrant Seasonal status and abundance are coded as follows:

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

a - abundant: common species, very numerous
c - common: certain to be seen in suitable habitat
u - uncommon: present, but not certain to be seen
o - occasional: seen only a few times during a season
r - rare: seen at intervals of 2 to 5 years
x - accidental: seen only once or twice


GREBES Sp S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe* c c c c ___ Eared Grebe c - c o ___ Western Grebe* c r c c ___ Clarke's Grebe u u - -
PELICANS Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican c o c c
CORMORANTS Sp S F W ___ Double-crested Cormorant* c c c c
BITTERNS, HERONS & EGRETS Sp S F W ___ American Bittern r - - o ___ Least Bittern* c c u o ___ Great Blue Heron* c c c c ___ Great Egret* c c c c ___ Snowy Egret* c c c c ___ Cattle Egret u u u u ___ Green Heron* c c u u ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* c c u o
IBISES & STORKS Sp S F W ___ White-faced Ibis c c u o ___ Wood Stork - o o -
DUCKS, GEESE & SWANS Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan - - o o ___ Greater White-fronted Goose - - u u ___ Snow Goose - - c c ___ Ross' Goose - - u u ___ Canada Goose o - a a ___ Green-winged Teal u a a a ___ Mallard c u c a ___ Northern Pintail c o c c ___ Blue-winged Teal o - o - ___ Cinnamon Teal c o c o ___ Northern Shoveler c o c c ___ Gadwall u - c c ___ American Wigeon u - c c ___ Canvasback u - u u ___ Redhead u o c o ___ Ring-necked Duck r - u u ___ Greater Scaup - - - r ___ Lesser Scaup u - c u ___ Common Goldeneye r - - u ___ Bufflehead o - c c ___ Common Merganser u r c c ___ Red-breasted Merganser o r o o ___ Ruddy Duck c o c u
VULTURES Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture c c c u
KITES, EAGLES & HAWKS Sp S F W ___ Osprey# c o u r ___ Bald Eagle# u r u u ___ Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawk)# c - u u ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk# u - u u ___ Cooper's Hawk# u - u c ___ Harris' Hawk o o o o ___ Swainson's Hawk# - - u - ___ Red-tailed Hawk*# c u c c
FALCONS Sp S F W ___ American Kestrel*# c c c c ___ Merlin# o - - - ___ Prairie Falcon# o - - -
QUAILS Sp S F W ___ Gambel's Quail* a a a a
RAILS, GALLINULES & COOTS Sp S F W ___ Clapper Rail* c c c u ___ Virginia Rail o o - o ___ Sora* c c c c ___ Common Moorhen* c c c c ___ American Coot* a a a a
CRANES Sp S F W ___ Sandhill Crane - - o c
PLOVERS Sp S F W ___ Snowy Plover o - o r ___ Semipalmated Plover o - - o ___ Killdeer*# a a c c
STILTS & AVOCETS Sp S F W ___ Black-necked Stilt c u c - ___ American Avocet u r u r
SANDPIPERS, PHALAROPES & ALLIES Sp S F W ___ Greater Yellowlegs u o u u ___ Solitary Sandpiper o o o - ___ Willet u o u - ___ Spotted Sandpiper u u c c ___ Long-billed Curlew# u u u u ___ Marbled Godwit o o o - ___ Sanderling o - o - ___ Western Sandpiper c - c - ___ Least Sandpiper c u c c ___ Pectoral Sandpiper - - o r ___ Dunlin o - o o ___ Long-billed Dowitcher u u c c ___ Common Snipe u - u u ___ Wilson's Phalarope r - o o ___ Red-necked Phalarope r - o o
GULLS, TERNS & SKIMMERS Sp S F W ___ Bonaparte's Gull o - o - ___ Ring-billed Gull c o c c ___ California Gull r - o - ___ Caspian Tern u - u r ___ Common Tern - - o - ___ Forster's Tern c o c r ___ Black Tern o o o -
DOVES Sp S F W ___ White-winged Dove*# c a - - ___ Mourning Dove*# c a c u ___ Common Ground-Dove o o o o
CUCKOOS & ROADRUNNERS Sp S F W ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo# - u - - ___ Greater Roadrunner* c c c c
TYPICAL OWLS Sp S F W ___ Western Screech-Owl* o o o o ___ Great Horned Owl* c c c c ___ Burrowing Owl*# c c c c ___ Elf Owl# u u u -
GOATSUCKERS Sp S F W ___ Lesser Nighthawk*# c c c - ___ Common Poorwill*# u u u -
SWIFTS Sp S F W ___ Vaux's Swift# u - u - ___ White-throated Swift# u o o o
HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Black-chinned Hummingbird*# u c - - ___ Anna's Hummingbird# o - - u ___ Costa's Hummingbird*# c c - - ___ Rufous Hummingbird# - - u -
KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher# u - c c
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Gila Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Red-naped Sapsucker# o - o o ___ Red-breasted Sapsucker# - - - r ___ Ladder-backed Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Northern Flicker# c - c c
TYRANT FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher# o - o - ___ Western Wood-Pewee# c u c - ___ Willow Flycatcher# r r r - ___ Hammond's Flycatcher# r - r - ___ Gray Flycatcher# r - r r ___ Pacific-slope Flycatcher# c - c - ___ Black Phoebe c u c c ___ Say's Phoebe*# c u c c ___ Vermilion Flycatcher# o o u u ___ Ash-throated Flycatcher*# c c c r ___ Brown-crested Flycatcher# o u - - ___ Western Kingbird*# c c u -
LARKS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark# o - c c
SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Tree Swallow# c u a a ___ Violet-green Swallow# o - o - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow# c c c o ___ Bank Swallow# o o o - ___ Cliff Swallow*# a a c - ___ Barn Swallow# c c c -
CROWS Sp S F W ___ American Crow - - c c ___ Common Raven o o o o
VERDINS Sp S F W ___ Verdin* c c c c
WRENS Sp S F W ___ Cactus Wren* c c u u ___ Rock Wren*# u u u u ___ Bewick's Wren c - o o ___ House Wren# o - o o ___ Marsh Wren# a a c c
KINGLETS & GNATCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet# c - c c ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher# o - o o ___ Black-tailed Gnatcatcher* c c c c
THRUSHES & ALLIES Sp S F W ___ Western Bluebird# - - o o ___ Mountain Bluebird# o - o o ___ Townsend's Solitaire# r - o o ___ Swainson's Thrush# r - - - ___ Hermit Thrush# o - u u ___ American Robin# u - u u
MOCKINGBIRDS, THRASHERS & ALLIES Sp S F W ___ Northern Mockingbird*# c c c c ___ Sage Thrasher# o - o o ___ Curve-billed Thrasher o r o - ___ Crissal Thrasher* c c c c
PIPITS Sp S F W ___ American Pipit (Water Pipit)# c - c c
WAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Cedar Waxwing# o - o o
SILKY-FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Phainopepla*# c u c c
SHRIKES Sp S F W ___ Loggerhead Shrike*# u c c c
STARLINGS Sp S F W ___ European Starling c c c c
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ Bell's Vireo*# o o o - ___ Solitary Vireo# u - u r ___ Warbling Vireo# c u c -
WOOD-WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Orange-crowned Warbler# c r c c ___ Nashville Warbler# u - u - ___ Lucy's Warbler*# c c - - ___ Yellow Warbler# o o o - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler# c - c c ___ Black-throated Gray Warbler# u - u - ___ Townsend's Warbler# u - u - ___ Hermit Warbler# o - o - ___ American Redstart# r - r r ___ MacGillivray's Warbler# u - u - ___ Common Yellowthroat*# c c c c ___ Wilson's Warbler# c o c r ___ Yellow-breasted Chat*# c c c -
TANAGERS Sp S F W ___ Summer Tanager# u u o - ___ Western Tanager# u u c -
GROSBEAKS & BUNTINGS Sp S F W ___ Black-headed Grosbeak# u u c - ___ Blue Grosbeak*# c c c - ___ Lazuli Bunting# u - u -
SPARROWS, TOWHEES & ALLIES Sp S F W ___ Green-tailed Towhee# o - u u ___ Rufous-sided Towhee# o - o o ___ Abert's Towhee* a a c c ___ Chipping Sparrow# c o c r ___ Brewer's Sparrow# o - c o ___ Vesper Sparrow# u - u r ___ Lark Sparrow# o - o - ___ Black-throated Sparrow# u u o - ___ Sage Sparrow# - - u u ___ Savannah Sparrow# c - c c ___ Fox Sparrow# - - o o ___ Song Sparrow*# c c c c ___ Lincoln's Sparrow# u - u o ___ White-crowned Sparrow# c - c c ___ Dark-eyed Junco# u - o o ___ Chestnut-collared Longspur# - - r -
BLACKBIRDS, ORIOLES & ALLIES Sp S F W ___ Red-winged Blackbird*# a a a u ___ Western Meadowlark# c c c c ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird# c c c - ___ Brewer's Blackbird# u - c u ___ Great-tailed Grackle* c c - - ___ Brown-headed Cowbird*# a a c u ___ Hooded Oriole# o o o - ___ Bullock's Oriole*# c c u -
FINCHES, GOLDFINCHES & ALLIES Sp S F W ___ House Finch* c c c c ___ Pine Siskin# r - o o ___ Lesser Goldfinch# c u u u ___ American Goldfinch# o - o o
OLD WORLD SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* c c c c

The following birds have been reported less than three times on or near Cibola National Wildlife Refuge in the past 25 years.

Common Loon                            Rufous Hummingbird
Brown Booby                            Lewis' Woodpecker
Brown Pelican                          Cassin's Kingbird
Little Blue Heron                      Purple Martin
Roseate Spoonbill                      Steller's Jay
Fulvous Whistling-Duck                 Western Scrub-Jay
Hooded Merganser                       Mountain Chickadee
Ferruginous Hawk                       Red-breasted Nuthatch
Golden Eagle                           White-breasted Nuthatch
Peregrine Falcon                       Canyon Wren
Black-bellied Plover                   Bendire's Thrasher
Lesser Yellowlegs                      Hutton's Vireo
Red Knot                               Virginia Warbler
Red Phalarope                          Northern Waterthrush
Franklin's Gull                        Black-chinned Sparrow
Herring Gull                           Lark Bunting
Sabine's Gull                          Grasshopper Sparrow
Band-tailed Pigeon                     Golden-crowned Sparrow
Northern Pygmy-Owl                     Rusty Blackbird
Northern Cardinal                      Lawrence's Goldfinch
Short-eared Owl

For additional information contact:
                 Refuge Manager
                 Cibola National Wildlife Refuge
                 Rt. 2, Box 138
                 Cibola, AZ  85328
                 Telephone: 928/857-3253
This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1995.  Birds of Cibola National Wildlife 
     Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1995.  Birds of Cibola National Wildlife 
     Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.  Jamestown, 
     ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govcibola.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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