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Harlequin Quaileep in the heart of Texas, or at least in a remote corner of the state, Big Bend National Park extends along the Mexican border from the Rio Grande lowlands to almost 8,000 feet in the Chisos Mountains. In its varied arid habitats, more species of birds have been recorded than at any other national park in the United States -- nearly 450 species! Only at Big Bend can you find Colima Warblers and other exciting birds in such well-known sites as Boot Canyon, Green Gulch, Panther Junction, Dugout Wells, Laguna Meadows, Rio Grande Village, Cottonwood Campground, Blue Creek Canyon and Daniel's Ranch.

As you drive and hike through the park, you may encounter some of the local specialties, such as Scaled Quail, a Zone-tailed Hawk, Chihuahuan Ravens, Gray-breasted Jays, Lucifer Hummingbirds and Colima Warblers. Other interesting species include Pyrruloxias, Hepatic Tanagers, White-throated Swifts, Canyon Towhees, plus Rufous-crowned, Black-chinned and Black-throated Sparrows. Other species to search for include Verdins, Cactus Wrens, Canyon and Rock Wrens, Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Vermilion Flycatchers, Black Phoebes, White-winged and Inca Doves, Elf Owls, Flammulated Owls, Black-capped Vireos, Painted Redstarts, Crissal Thrashers, Greater Roadrunners, and if you are especially lucky, a rare Varied Bunting.

Big Bend landscape
The rugged landscape of Big Bend hides an exciting variety of hard-to-find birds, such as Harlequin Quail.

Big Bend is the best place in the United States to see Lucifer Hummingbirds, plus Blue-throated, Magnificent, Black-chinned and White-eared Hummingbirds can be seen along with migrant Broad-tailed and Rufous Hummingbirds. Many birds migrate along the Rio Grande River Valley, so if you want to bolster your checklist of sightings for the area, plan a spring or fall field trip. Big Bend is a remote location, so be prepared to do some extra driving just to get there from Dallas, Austin or another city with air accommodations. For more information, contact Big Bend NP (915) 477-2251.

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