Birds of Baja

Birds of Baja - About Bird Watching on the Peninsula

by C.E. Llewellyn, author & photographer of Birds We See

The Baja California Peninsula is an area of mountainous desert extending approximately 800 miles south of the U.S. Border. It is contained by by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Sea of Cortez to the east. In 1859 naturalist John Xantus brought Baja California to the attention of the birding world.

In 1859 John Xantus made an expedition to Baja California, which was then almost unknown. On this trip he set up a base of operations at Cabo San Lucas at the extreme southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. Thence he explored the entire surrounding region as well as many of the adjacent islands. During this time Xantus collected "many new species" then unknown back at the Smithsonian, not only of birds, which were his first interest, but also of plants and animals of almost every other description. During this trip Xantus made "the addition of a larger number of new animals to our fauna than has been made by one person in any single region of North America before."

Birding in Baja is an activity that almost anyone can enjoy. Whether you are the adventurist type or a backyard birder, you have the possibility of seeing around 400 different species of birds. Baja California has 6 endemics including Cape Pygmy Owl, Xantus's Hummingbird, Gray Thrasher, Belding's Yellowthroat, Baird's Junco, and San Lucas Robin. Other potential future splits in Baja may include LeConte's Thrasher (Vizcaino Thrasher), White-breasted Nuthatch, and Acorn Woodpecker.

Baja birding areas of interest are the arroyo's, seashores, deserts, estuaries, lagoons and mountains. There are also many micro habitats, oasis, etc.

The San Jose del Cabo estuary is an excellent place for birding in Baja California Sur where you are almost certain to see one of the endemics, the Belding's Yellowthroat, a beautiful yellow masked species. Hiking or quading up any of the arroyos and you will almost be certain to see the Gray Thrasher and Xantus's Hummingbird. Four wheeling excursions up into the biospheres of the Sierra de la Laguna in Baja Sur may reward you with sightings of the Cape Pygmy Owl, Baird's Junco or San Lucas Robin. Also of special interest is the sea and shore birds of the San Ignacio Lagoon on the Pacific side of Baja.

Following is a list of birds we see in Baja. This list is always growing. Birds pictured below from top to bottom: Xantus's Hummingbird, San Lucan Robin, Gray Thrasher and Belding's Yellowthroat.

Birds We See 1. American Avocet
2. American Coot
3. Black-headed Grosbeak
4. Brown Boobie
5. Blue-footed Boobie
6. Brown Pelican
7. Brown-headed Cowbird
8. Lazuli Bunting
9. Varied Bunting
10. California Quail

11. Common Moorhen
Birds We See 12. Brandt's Cormorant
13. Double-crested Cormorant
14. Common Ground Dove
15. Ruddy Ground Dove
16. White-winged Dove
17. Long-billed Dowitcher
18. Blue-winged Teal
19. Cinnamon Teal
20. Eared Greb

21. Northern Pintail
22. Pied-billed Grebe
23. Mallard
24. Great Egret
25. Reddish Egret
26. Snowy Egretv 27. European Starling
28. House Finch & varaints
29. Lesser Goldfinch
30. Gilded Flicker
Birds We See 31. Ash-throated Flycatcher
32. Gray Flycatcher
33. Pacific-slope Flycatcher
34. Vermilion Flycatcher
35. Blue-gray Flycatcher
36. California Gnatcatcher
37. Heerman's Gull
38. Laughing Gull
39. Yellow-footed Gull
40. Ring-billed Gull

41. Black-crowned Night Heron
42. Great Blue Heron
43. Green Heron
44. Costa's Hummingbird
45. Xantus's Hummingbird
Birds We See 46. Cassin's Kingbird
47. Belted Kingfisher
48. Loggerhead Shrike
49. Magnificent Frigate bird
50. Common Raven
51. Northern Cardinal
52. Northern Mockingbird
53. Hooded Oriole
54. Scott's Oriole
55. Phainopepla
56. Black Phoebe
57. Say's Phoebe
58. Pyrrhuloxia
59. American Kestrel
60. Harris's Hawk

61. Red-tailed Hawk
62. Zone-tailed hawk
63. Osprey
64. Crested Caracara
65. Peregrin Falcon
66. Great-horned Owl
67. Greater Roadrunner
68. Killdeer
69. Black-bellied Plover
70. Semipalmated Plover
71. Baird's Sandpiper
72. Least Sandpiper
73. Western Sandpiper
74. Spotted Sandpiper
75. Shiny Cowbird
76. Black-chinned Sparrow
77. Black-throated Sparrow
78. Chipping Sparrow
79. Brewer's Sparrow
80. House Sparrow

81. Lark Sparrow
82. White-crowned Sparrow
83. Caspian Tern
84. Royal Tern
85. Gray Thrasher
86. California Towhee
87. Green-tailed Towhee
88. Turkey Vulture
89. Verdin
90. Cassin's Verio

91. Orange-crowned Warbler
92. Yellow-rumped Warbler
93. Yellow Warbler
94. Western Meadowlark
95. Western Scrub Jay
96. Western Tanager
97. White-faced Ibis
98. Gila Woodpecker
99. Ladder-backed Woodpecker
100. Cactus Wren

101. Bewick's Wren
102. Canyon Wren
103. House Wren
104. Rock Wren
105. Belding's Yellowthroat
106. Common Yellowthroat
107. Herring Gull
108. California Gull
109. Lesser Nighthawk
110. Wilson's Warbler

111. San Lucan Robin
112. Palm Warbler
113. Ring-necked Duck

About C.E. Llewellyn

C.E. Llewellyn is a life-long wildlife enthusiast who has always spent as much time as possible in the outdoors. He hunted with a gun or a bow all his life. "If it moved and was fair game, no animal was safe around me." After his wife was diagnosed with a life threatening cancer, feelings about life changed for him. He started hunting only with a camera. Chris and his wife Debbie, traveled the world searching for wildlife to photograph and study. "I like to share, especially through photography, the birds we see at home and in our travels. I'd like to think that I've helped at least some people better understand the beauty in nature that is all around us."

Visit C.E. Llellyn's website
Learn more about Birds We See