Bird Watching in Rio Grande Village

Pied-billed Grebes
Pied-billed grebes in the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail beaver pond.

NPS Photo/Cookie Ballou


The riparian corridor at Rio Grande Village offers some of the best birding in the park year-round. You may wish to start your day with a hike along the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail, which begins adjacent to campsite #18. The trail crosses a beaver pond where you might see wading or shore birds like herons, bitterns, ducks, and kingfishers. Other birds seen along the trail include white-winged, mourning, and Inca doves, the yellow-billed cuckoo, Say's and black phoebes, verdin, summer tanager, painted bunting, northern cardinal, and orchard oriole.

Walk around the perimeter of the campground, including the no generator zone, and look for vermillion, ash-throated, and brown-crested flycatchers. Peek into the mesquite thickets where you might find Bell's vireo, curve-billed thrasher, or black-tailed gnatcatcher. Overhead, you might catch a glimpse of black, red-tailed, sharp-shinned, or Cooper's hawks soaring with turkey vultures and black vultures.

At the west end of Rio Grande Village is the Daniels' Ranch picnic area. The cottonwood trees across from the ranch ruins are one of the best areas to find both golden-fronted and ladder-backed woodpeckers, and northern flickers. Consider a short stroll to the Rio Grande to search for the Mexican mallard, and both green and blue-winged teals. Look up and you may see northern rough-winged, barn, or cliff swallows flying over head.

Last updated: November 9, 2013

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