Although Tonto National Monument was established to preserve two prehistoric cliff dwellings, it also protects a great diversity of plant and animal life. Over 160 species of birds have been observed or heard within the Monument. Learn about the most commonly seen species below or download our bird list for a complete listing.
Diet: Insects and small animals
American Kestrels are one of the smallest falcons and most colorful raptors. Males have a blue head and wings which contrast with the rusty-red back and tail. Females are red on the wings, back, and tail. They are solitary and hunt within a small range.
Diet: Small insects
This tiny songbird has a thin, straight bill and a long black tail. Dark gray above and paler gray underneath, their eyes stand out due to the white rings around them. Their call is a dry hissing pssh sound and a very harsh tssh-tssh-tssh series. Rarely heard, their song is a jumble of high chips and warbles.
Diet: Insects and seeds
This relatively small sparrow has brown plumage, black throat and breast, and a white eyebrow. Juveniles do not yet have a black throat. Their calls are a jumble of notes that sound like tinkling bells.
Diet: Insects and fruit
The Cactus Wren is a large, chunky bird with a long heavy bill, a long, rounded tail, and short, rounded wings. They are a speckled brown with bright white eyebrows. Often, their oval nests can be found in cacti. Their call is a low hallow kot given in a series. Their song is a log, chugging, unmusical series of krrr krrr krr.
Diet: Seeds, fruit, and insects
These large, warm-brown sparrows have long tails, chunky bodies, short rounded wings, and a short, thick bill. They are commonly seen on the ground in parking lots and underneath shrubs. Their call is a nasal tinny kidl or kilt while their song is a methodical, slow trill of short whistled notes: kild ti ti ti ti ti ti ti ti kill.
Diet: Insects and spiders
This small songbird has a brown body, a white throat, and a long, thin bill. They usually climb around on rock faces looking for food. Their call is a high ringing buzz jink while their song is a cascading series of clear whistles ending with nasal hissing noises.
Diet: Seeds, fruit, and insect larvae
Cardinals are a fairly large, long-tailed bird with a short, very thick bill and prominent crest. Adult males are uniquely colored, with a bright red body, a black face, and an obvious, pointed crest. Adult females are similarly shaped, but are pale brown in color, with a reddish tinge on the wings, tail, and crest. Their call is a sharp, somewhat metallic chip. While their song is a series of high, clear, and mostly slurred whistles woit woit woit chew chew chew chew chew or pichew pichew tiw tiw tiw tiw tiw tiw with many variations.
This massive, entirely black bird has a thick neck and shaggy throat feathers. In flight, ravens have long, wedge-shaped tails. They are larger than crows with longer and more narrow wings. Their common call is a deep baritone croak brrrronk but they can make a wide variety of sounds.
Diet: Nectar and insects
Adult males have a purplish crown and long flared throat feathers. The throat and under side of adult females are dingy white to pale gray with a pale "eyebrow". Their call is a very high, musical chip. Their song is a very high, thin, rising, and falling buzz.
Diet: Forages on the ground, tossing leaves and debris with their bill to expose insects and other invertebrates
This dull grayish brown bird is a large, long-tailed songbird. It has a long, thin, slightly down-curved bill. Its call is a distinctive, sharp, liquid whistle wit-WEET-wit. Its song is similar to other thrashers, but more harsh and hurried with many short, sharp notes such as quit quit and weet.
Diet: Seeds, leaves, and insects
This quail is plump, short-tailed, and has grayish plumage. Both adult males and females have the prominent tear-drop shaped head plume or double plume. Males give a repeated nasal pup waay pop with a short clipped final note call.
This medium to large woodpecker has a barred black-and-white back, and a brown face and neck. Adult males have a red cap. They are a characteristic bird of Saguaro cactus forests. Their call is a loud harsh quirrrr. They drum long and steady.
Diet: Insects, fruits, and seeds
This medium to large woodpecker is grayish brown, with a barred pattern on top and spotted pattern below. They have a black crescent on their chest. While in flight, their white rump and yellow wing patches are obvious. Their call is a long series of long wik-wik-wik notes.
Diet: Seeds, fruit, and other insects
These small-bodied birds have fairly large beaks and somewhat long, flat heads. Their wings are short, making their tail seem long by comparison. Adult males are red around the face and upper breast, with a brown back, belly, and tail. Adult females are not red; they are a plain grayish-brown. Their flight call is a soft husky fidlp or vweet. Their song is a varied warble with a steady tempo; it begins with high clear notes and ends with lower blurry notes.
These tiny, stub-billed songbirds have long, pointed wings, and short, notched tails. Adult males are bright yellow below a black cap with white patches on their wings. Adult females have olive colored backs, dull yellow underparts, and black wings marked by two white wingbars. Their call is a high, clear wiry tleeee, teeeyEE, or teseeeeeeeeew. Their song is slow and hoarse, often imitating other species.
The phainopepla is a slender, long-tailed, round-winged bird with red eyes and a shaggy crest. Adult males are shiny black with white wing patches; adult females are grayish with white edging on all wing feathers. Their call is a low questioning hoi. Their song is a series of disjointed, short, warbled phrases that may be grating in quality.
Diet: Insects and other arthropods
This small songbird has a pale gray back, faintly striped throat, a long tail, and a long, thin bill. They often stand on top of rock and bounce (as if doing deep knee-bends) while giving a ringing call. Their call is a ringing buss pdzeeee which can be heard from a great distance. Their song is series of buzzy, trilled, ringing phrases which are repeated three to six times in regular rhythm.
This slender, long-tailed flycatcher appears to have a large head for a bird of its size. They are a pale brownish color on their back with a cinnamon belly, a blackish tail and a gray breast. Their call is a low, plaintive, whistled pdeer or tueee. Their song is a series of relatively low, whistled phrases pidiweew and pidireep.
Turkey Vultures are large dark birds with long, broad wings. These wings have pale flight feathers giving them a two-toned appearance. Their head is red and featherless with a pale bill. While flying, they teeter. They make soft hissing and clucking noises which are seldom heard.
Diet: Small insects, fruit, and nectar
Verdins are a small dull gray bird with a yellow face and chestnut shoulders. Their call is a clear tschep and rapid chip notes. Their song is a three-note whistle, tee tyew too, with the second note higher.
Diet: Seeds and insects
This large sparrow has a small bill and a long tail. They are a plan, pale-gray bird with a very bold black-and-white strip on the head and a pale pink or yellow bill. Their call is a sharp plink. Their song varies regionally, but often contains a series of buzzy trills on different pitches: feeee odi odi zeee zaaaa zooo.
Diet: Flying insects
This small bird has a black back, wings, and tail and a white throat, belly, and sides of the rump. Their wings are long, pointed, and swept back. They are mainly seen around their nests on rocky cliffs, especially above the Lower Cliff Dwelling. Their call is a long descending series of scraping notes ki ki ki ki kir kir kir kiir kiir kirsh krrs krrsh.