There’s a reason people flock to Tucson, AZ to catch glimpses of beautiful birds: our desert city is home to an array of feathered friends, including the cactus wren, the Gila woodpecker, and the ever-famous roadrunner (coyote not included).
If you want to soak in all the avian sights our city has to offer, read on to learn more about birding in Tucson.
Birds of Tucson
Seasoned birdwatchers and Audubon newcomers alike will recognize many of the area’s bird populations. Some of the most common ones you’ll see (or want to spend a little extra time scouting for) include:
- Sandhill crane
- Cooper’s hawk
- Vermilion flycatcher
- Anna’s hummingbird
- Purple martin
- White-winged dove
- Ash-throated flycatchers
- Western bluebird
- Lesser goldfinch
- Gambel’s quail
- Mourning dove
- Inca dove
- Broad billed hummingbird
- Black-chinned hummingbird
Tucson’s bird diversity comes as a result of our mild climate and a range of elevations that favor multiple types and species of birds.
Guided Birding Excursions
Because Tucson is such a hotspot for birding, our city has birthed multiple birding excursions led by expert local guides who know where to find the action. These guided tours take you to popular areas in and around Tucson and many are friends and partners to the Tucson Audubon Society.
The biggest advantage of joining a guided excursion is that it maximizes your birdwatching time. You no longer have to seek out areas on your own, which carries a potential to not being able to see the birds you want. Your guide takes you straight to the party, so to speak, allowing you to tap into their expertise on our local bird populations.
If you’re looking for a different type of excursion, plan your trip just right to join one of our two annual summer birding festivals. Both held in August, our festivals are educational and will bring you closer to more than 400 species of birds that call Tucson home at some point.
Great Places for Birding Near Tucson
If you prefer to create your own birding adventure, there are a few places in and around Tucson, AZ that you’ll want to make a priority during your visit.
First up: A Mountain in Sentinel Park. This tourist hotspot is also a prime stomping ground for a number of raptor species, especially on windy days.
Rio Vista Natural Resource Park is also an underrated favorite among locals. Trails of desert scrub are often dotted with the Greater Roadrunner and Cactus Wren. In the winter, you’ll likely spot the Prairie Falcon and the striking red blur of the Vermilion Flycatcher.
You can find additional areas of prime birding activity on the Tucson Birding Trail. Download the map or request a printed copy to start planning your adventure.
Birding in the desert southwest can be a rewarding experience, offering you tons of bang for you beak – er, buck! – so you can check multiple species off your bird watching list.
For more travel inspiration, head back to our blog.