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Grulla National Wildlife Refuge

Offices in Muleshoe, Texas

The Grulla National Wildlife Refuge is centrally located in eastern New Mexico adjacent the Texas State line near the small town of Arch in Roosevelt County, approximately 25 miles southeast of Portales on State Highway 88. The refuge was established in 1969 as a wintering area for lesser sandhill cranes and other migratory birds. Grulla (pronounced Gru-ya) is the Spanish word for crane. The refuge consists of 3,236 acres, two-thirds of which comprise the saline lake bed called Salt Lake. The remainder of the refuge is composed of mostly native grama and buffalo grasses.

Wildlife use on the refuge varies depending upon the availibility of water in Salt Lake which often remains dry or nearly dry for several years in a row. During wet years, Salt Lake provides nesting areas for a variety of migratory birds including thousands of lesser sandhill cranes which nightly roost on the lake bed during October through mid-March.

Although wildlife inventory records for Grulla refuge are incomplete, this preliminary list comprises species either identified on the refuge or nearby. Visitors are ecnourage to notify the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge office of any unlisted species observations. The refuge is located approxmately 28 miles southeast of the Grulla National Wildlife Refuge and the phone number is 806/946-3341.

The entrance road at the northeast part of the refuge provides the only vehicle access and ends at a visitor parking area. Beyond the parking area is a short foot trail which provides a hill top view of Salt Lake. The entire refuge is open to the public for foot traffic for wildlife viewing.


"Birding" is a sport of watching, listening and marveling at the colors, shapes, sounds, and antics of birds. People of all ages are discovering that a little time and patience will be well rewarded by the ablility to identify many species of birds. You may even learn to recognize some of the needs and traits we share with out feathered neighbors. A note of caution -- birding is habit-forming! Should you become hooked on the delightful pastime there is no known cure.

How to use your checklist

The bird list is this leaflet is the first attempt to compile the recorded observations of the refuge staff and knowledgeable observers in this area. This list of 85 species follows the order of the sixth edition of the A.O.U. checklist. So grab your book, binoculars and a pencil, and as you spot birds during your tour of the refuge, check them off on this list. Your bird sightings and numbers information will help us enhance our list, please let us know all sightings at Refuge Headquarters (address and phone on back). We'll appreciate your help in updating our records.

Symbols used in this list are defined as follows:


Sp - March to May
S - June to August
F - September to November
W - December to February * - Nests locally


A - Abundant: A common species that is very numerous.
C - Common: Certain to be seen in suitable habitats.
U - Uncommon: Present, not certain to be seen.
O - Occasional: Seen few times during the season.
R - Seen at intervals of 2 to 5 years.
X - Accidental: Has been seen only once or twice.
Hypothetical: Birds observed by a single party, but are not confirmed by a specimen, photograph, or observation by a second independent party.

Grebes Sp S F W ___ Eared Grebe U R U R
Bitterns, Herons and Egrets Sp S F W ___ Great Blue Heron U U U U ___ Snowy Egret R R O R ___ Cattle Egret - - X -
Swans, Geese, and Ducks Sp S F W ___ Snow Goose R - R O ___ Canada Goose O - O O ___ Green-winged Teal C R C O ___ Mallard C O C C ___ Northern Pintail C R C C ___ Cinnamon Teal R - R - ___ Northern Shoveler U R U U ___ Gadwall U R U U ___ American Wigeon C R U U ___ Redhead R - R - ___ Ring-necked Duck R - R - ___ Ruddy Duck R - R -
American Vultures Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture R U O -
Kites, Eagles, and Hawks Sp S F W ___ Mississippi Kite - - X - ___ Bald Eagle R - R R ___ Northern Harrier* U O U C ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk U - U U ___ Cooper's Hawk U - U R ___ Swainson's Hawk* C C C - ___ Red-tailed Hawk C U C C ___ Ferruginous Hawk* C U C C ___ Rough-legged Hawk U - U U ___ Golden Eagle U - C C
Falcons Sp S F W ___ American Kestrel C O C C ___ Merlin R - R R ___ Prairie Falcon O R O R
Pheasants, Grouse, Turkeys, and Quail Sp S F W ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* U U U U ___ Lesser Prairie-Chicken R R R R ___ Northern Bobwhite* C C C C ___ Scaled Quail* O O O O
Rails, Gallinules, and Coots Sp S F W ___ American Coot* O - O O
Cranes Sp S F W ___ Sandhill Crane C - C C
Plovers Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover - - R - ___ Snowy Plover* U U O - ___ Killdeer* C C C U
Stilts and Avocets Sp S F W ___ Black-necked Stilt O O O - ___ American Avocet C C C -
Sandpipers and Phalaropes Sp S F W ___ Greater Yellowlegs U C C R ___ Lesser Yellowlegs U C C R ___ Willet R - R - ___ Spotted Sandpiper U - U - ___ Long-billed Curlew U U U - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper O O O - ___ Western Sandpiper U U U - ___ Least Sandpiper U U U - ___ Baird's Sandpiper U U U - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper - - R - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher U U U - ___ Wilson's Phalarope U R U -
Gulls and Terns Sp S F W ___ Ring-billed Gull O - O O ___ Black Tern O O O -
Pigeons and Doves Sp S F W ___ Mourning Dove* C C C C
Cuckoos, Roadrunners, and Anis Sp S F W ___ Greater Roadrunner* O O O O
Typical Owl Sp S F W ___ Burrowing Owl U U U R ___ Great Horned Owl O O O O ___ Short-eared Owl R - R R
Nighthawks and Nightjars Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk C U U -
Tyrant Flycatchers Sp S F W ___ Western Kingbird* C C U - ___ Scissor-tailed Flycatcher U U U -
Larks Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* C C C C
Swallows Sp S F W ___ Cliff Swallow U O U - ___ Barn Swallow O O O -
Jays, Magpies, and Crows Sp S F W ___ American Crow R - R R ___ Chihuahuan Raven R O R R
Thrushes Sp S F W ___ Mountain Bluebird R - R -
Wagtails and Pipits Sp S F W ___ American Pipit O - O R
Shrikes Sp S F W ___ Loggerhead Shrike* C C C C
Cardinals and Grosbeaks Sp S F W ___ Blue Grosbeak U C U -
Sparrows Sp S F W ___ Brewer's Sparrow O - - - ___ Lark Sparrow* C C C O ___ Lark Bunting* C C C U ___ Savannah Sparrow C - C O ___ Baird's Sparrow - - R - ___ Grasshopper Sparrow O O X - ___ White-crowned Sparrow C - C C ___ Dark-eyed Junco C - C C
Blackbirds and Orioles Sp S F W ___ Western Meadowlark* C C C C ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird U U U - ___ Brewer's Blackbird U - U U
Finches Sp S F W ___ Pine Siskin O - O R
Old World Sparrow Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow C C C C

For additional information contact:
                     Refuge Manager
                     Grulla National Wildlife Refuge
                     PO Box 549
                     Muleshoe, Texas 79347
                     Telephone: 806/946-3341

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1998.  Grulla National Wildlife Refuge.  
     U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1998.  Grulla National Wildlife Refuge.  
     U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: 
     Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     (Version 22MAY98).

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