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A Report from

WEST MEXICO - OAXACA - YUCATAN- 23 January - 20 February, 1998,



Provinces of Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Yucatan.

Abbreviations - C = Common. U = Uncommon. Locality abbreviations as below.

Itinerary -

West Mexico (WM):

23/1. Arrived Puerto Vallarta (PV) for overnight stay.

24/1. Drove to Chamela Biological Research Station (CBS). Birded a dirt road near Chamela town and thorn forest around the station. Overnight at the station's staff quarters (pre-arranged).

25/1. Drove to Autlan. Birded the Sierra de Autlan at Puerto los Mazos (M) 12km south of Autlan, walking to the summit. Overnight in motel in Autlan.

26/1. Drove to Gruzman. Birded a dirt road near El Limon and pine and pine-oak forests along the highway in mountains 20-30km west of Gruzman (MG). A side track running south from the highway was particularly fruitful. Overnight in hotel in Gruzman.

27/1. Drove to the summit of Volcano de Nieve (V). The road is good, evidently much better than the road up Volcano de Colima recommended in most reports. Overnight in Gruzman.

28/1. Drove to La Cumbre, a hill of religious significance near Colima. Drove to Playa de Oro near Manzanillo, then to Tepic. Overnight in hotel in Tepic.

29/1. Birded the road through the Cerro de San Juan Ecological Reserve (SJ) near Tepic. Overnight in hotel in San Blas (SB).

30/1. Birded forest and second growth around Singayta and near La Bajada. Overnight in San Blas.

31/1. Birded roads near El Cora and Techuitata, San Blas area. Drove to Bucerias, north of Puerto Vallarta. Overnight in Bucerias.

1/2. Birded cultivated areas near Neuvo Vallarta. Flew to Oaxaca via Mexico City. Overnight in hotel in Tlacolula.

Oaxaca (O)

2/2. Birded Valle De Tlacolula, including hills and dam behind Teotitlan del Valle (T) and the Zapotec ruins at Yagul and Dainzu. Overnight in Tlacolula.

3/2. Drove to the so-called Garbage Gulch (GG) on Highway 175 near Oaxaca, then across the two mountain ranges through pine, pine-oak and cloud forests to Valle Nacional (VN). Overnight in hotel in Valle Nacional.

4/2. Birded the cloud forests of the Sierra Oriental before returning to La Cumbre, a mountain pass above Garbage Gulch on Highway 175. Overnight a few km east of La Cumbra at Del Monte Campemento (cabins).

5/2. Birded the dirt run running north from La Cumbre after paying for entry. Overnight at Del Monte Campemento.

6/2. Birded Garbage Gulch again and the Monte Albon ruins near Oaxaca. Overnight in Oaxaca hotel.

Yucatan (Y)

7/2. Flew to Cancun via Mexico City. Met Chris Corben and Lisa Hug from California. Overnight in Playa del Carmen, south of Cancun.

8/2. Caught the ferry to Isle de Cozumel (IC), birding a side track 7km east of the town and the road to the San Gervacio ruins. Overnight in Playa del Carmen.

9/2. Drove to Tulum, then to Coba. Overnight in hotel at Coba.

10/2. Birded the ruins and lake at Coba. Overnight in Coba.

11/2. Drove to Filipe Carillo Puerto. Birded the Vigia Chico Road (VC). Overnight in Filipe Carillo hotel.

12/2. Birded the road again. Overnight in Filipe Carillo.

13/2. The Vigia Chico road again. Overnight in Filipe Carillo.

14/2. Drove to Bacalar. Overnight in lakeside hotel 4km south of Bacalar.

15/2. Birded road to biological research station (BRS) 10km north of Bacalar. Overnight in hotel.

16/2. Birded research station road again. Overnight in hotel.

17/2. Birded dirt road opposite main road from research station road. Drove to Uxmal ruins. Overnight in Uxmal hotel.

18/2. Birded roads near Uxmal. Drove to Celestun. Overnight in beachfront hotel in Celestun.

19/2. Birded dry scrub behind beach north of Celestun. Hired boat for river trip. Overnight in hotel.

20/2. Returned to Coba. Overnight in Coba.

21/2. Drove to Cancun. Flew from Cancun to San Francisco.


Names follow Howell & Webb, A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America, 1995. For the purposes of this list, some forms split by Howell & Webb are not regarded as full species. *denotes lifer.

Thicket Tinamou (1 at VC, 1 at BRS),
Slaty-breasted Tinamou (1 at BRS),
Least Grebe (1 near Cancun, 1 at SB),
Pied-billed Grebe,
Double-crested Cormorant (Y),
Neotropic Cormorant,
Magnificent Frigatebird,
Great Blue Heron,
Great Egret,
Snowy Egret,
Little Blue Heron,
Tri-coloured Heron,
Cattle Egret,
Green Heron,
Black-crowned Night-Heron,
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron,
White-faced Ibis,
White Ibis,
Wood Stork,
American White Pelican,
Brown Pelican,
Greater (American) Flamingo (common at Celestun; a "Howell split'),
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck,
Green-winged Teal,
Blue-winged Teal,
Northern Shoveler,
Black Vulture,
Turkey Vulture,
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (U- B, Celestun),
Snail Kite (C - Bacalar area),
Common Black Hawk (C in Y; feeding on fish and crabs at Celestun),
Roadside Hawk,
Grey Hawk,
White-tailed Kite,
Red-tailed Hawk,
Short-tailed Hawk,
Zone-tailed Hawk (U in Y),
Bicoloured Hawk (1 at Coba),
Black Hawk-Eagle (1 at BRS),
Sharp-shinned Hawk,
Crested Caracara,
Laughing Falcon (2 at VC),
American Kestrel,
Peregrine Falcon,
Plain Chachalaca (C in Y),
*West Mexican Chachalaca (4 parties of between 1 and 4 birds seen at CBS; 1 at T; others heard),
*Rufous-bellied Chachalaca (4 seen near Techuitata, SB area; others heard),
Crested Guan (1 near VN),
*Great Curassow (1 at BRS, attracted to captive birds in breeding program),
*Long-tailed Wood-Patridge (2 parties each of 3 birds, roadside on V),
*Yucatan Bobwhite (C - several parties near Uxmal and Celestun),
*Elegant Quail (1 at Nuevo Vallarta), *Banded Quail (C - roadside parties near El Limon, near Autlan and between Colima and La Cumbre),
*Ruddy Crake (2 in late afternoon on lakeshore at Coba),
Purple Gallinule, Common Moorhen,
*Rufous-necked Wood-Rail (1 adult and 1 juvenile at mangrove edge at Celestun),
American Coot,
Limpkin (U - near Mazatlan and at Bacalar),
Ringed Plover,
Grey Plover,
Black-necked Stilt,
American Avocet,
Northern Jacana,
Greater Yellowlegs,
Lesser Yellowlegs,
Solitary Sandpiper,
Spotted Sandpiper,
Least Sandpiper,
Long-billed Dowitcher,
Long-billed Curlew,
Laughing Gull,
Heermann's Gull (C - SB),
Caspian Tern,
Gull-billed Tern,
Royal Tern (U - IC),
Sandwich Tern,
Feral Pigeon,
Red-billed Pigeon,
Band-tailed Pigeon,
White-winged Dove,
Mourning Dove,
Inca Dove,
Common Ground-Dove,
Blue Ground-Dove (U - BRS),
White-tipped Dove,
*Caribbean Dove (1 on IC; 1 at VC; heard at Celestun),
*White-crowned Pigeon (5 on IC),
Orange-fronted Parakeet (U in WM),
*Barred Parakeet (2 in cloud forest above VN),
White-fronted Parrot (U in Y),
*Yucatan Parrot (C on IS; U at VC),
Aztec Parakeet (C in Y),
*Lilac-crowned Parrot (C at CBS; U in SB area),
*Mexican Parrotlet (several hundred drinking at spring near El Limon; U in SB area),
Mangrove Cuckoo (5 on IC; 1 at Celestun),
Squirrel Cuckoo,
Groove-billed Ani,
*Lesser Roadrunner (1 at Yagul; 2 at GG),
*Vermiculated (Variable) Screech-Owl (C at Coba, VC and BRS; responded readily to tapes but only brief fly-over view), Great Horned Owl,
*Mottled Owl (2 spotlighted at CBS, tame around research station buildings; 1 on road near Coba; heard elsewhere),
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (C in Y),
Lesser Night-Hawk, *Yucatan Poorwill (1 spotlighted near Uxmal; 1 near Bacalar),
Northern (Mexican) Whip-poor-will (1 flushed during day above Del Monte, Highway 175 - Howell "split'),
*Yucatan Nightjar (1 spotlighted near Uxmal and 1 near Coba),
*Northern Potoo (1 spotlighted near Coba, at Tulum turnoff),
White-collared Swift (party above VN), Vaux's Swift,
White-throated Swift (above VN), Chimney Swift (U in Y),
*Wedge-tailed Sabrewing (C - Coba, VC, BRS),
Green-breasted Mango (1 on IC), Green Violet-ear (C - MG, V),
Fork-tailed Emerald (race canivetii - C in Y; auriceps - U at CBS; forficatus - C on IC; all three Howell "splits'),
*Broad-billed Hummingbird (C - C and La Cumbre, Colima),
*Dusky Hummingbird (U at GG),
*Mexican Woodnymph (1 near Techuitata, SB area),
*White-eared Hummingbird (C in mountains in WM and O),
*White-bellied Emerald (U - Coba, VC, BRS),
*Berylline Hummingbird (C at SJ and in O),
Cinnamon Hummingbird (C in WM and Y),
Buff-bellied Hummingbird (C in Y),
*Violet-crowned Hummingbird (2 near El Limon),
Magnificent Hummingird (5 on V),
*Garnet-throated Hummingbird (1 in cloud forest above VN),
*Plain-capped Starthroated (1 at CBS),
*Mexican Sheartail (U behind beach 3 km east of Celestun),
*Beautiful Hummingbird (1 at Yagul),
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (U in Y),
Black-chinned Hummingbird (U at La Cumbre, Colima),
*Calliope Hummingbird (1 on V; 1 at MG),
*Broad-tailed Hummingbird (U - MG, V), *Rufous Hummingbird (C in WM),
*Bumblebee Hummingbird (C in cloud forest above VN),
Black-headed Trogon (C in Y),
Violaceous Trogon (C in Y),
*Citreoline Trogon (C - SB area and CBS),
*Eared Quetzal (party of 8 at SJ moving noisily through forest),
*Russet-crowned Motmot (1 at SJ; 1 near Singayta, SB),
Blue-crowned Motmot (U - Coba, VC), Turquoise-browed Motmot (U - Coba, VC, BRS),
Belted Kingfisher,
Green Kingfisher,
Amazon Kingfisher,
*American Pygmy Kingfisher (pair along inlet during Celestun boat-trip),
Emerald Toucanet (U in cloud forest above VN),
Collared Aracari (U - VC, BRS),
Keel-billed Toucan (U - VC, BRS),
Acorn Woodpecker,
*Golden-cheeked Woodpecker (C in WM),
*Grey-breasted Woodpecker (1 at T; 1 at Yagul),
*Yucatan Woodpecker (C in Y),
Golden-fronted Woodpecker (C in Y),
Gila Woodpecker (U near SB),
*Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (1 at MG),
Ladder-backed Woodpecker,
*Arizona Woodpecker (1 at M),
Golden-olive Woodpecker (U in Y), Smoky-brown Woodpecker (U -BRS, VC),
*Grey-crowned Woodpecker (1 at SJ),
Lineated Woodpecker,
Pale-billed Woodpecker (1 at VC; 1 at C),
Hairy Woodpecker,
Tawny-winged Woodcreeper (U - Coba, VC, BRS),
*Ivory-billed Woodcreeper (C in Y and WM),
Spot-crowned Woodcreeper (1 above VN),
*White-striped Woodcreeper (1 on V; 2 at SJ),
*Ruddy Woodcreeper (U - VC, BRS),
Olivaceous Woodcreeper,
Barred Woodcreeper (U - Coba, VC),
Barred Ant-Shrike (U in Y),
Northern Beardless Tyrannulet (U - IC, VC),
Greenish Elaenia,
Yellow-bellied Elaenia (1 at Coba),
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher (1 at VC),
Vermilion Flycatcher,
Common Tody-Flycatcher (1 at Tulum),
Northern Bentbill (U at Coba),
Yellow-olive Flycatcher (U in Y),
*Royal Flycatcher (1 at VC),
*Tufted Flycatcher (C in WM and O),
*Greater Pewee (C in WM and O),
Tropical Pewee (U - VC),
Least Flycatcher (C in Y; U in WM),
Hammond's Flycatcher (C in WM mountains),
Willow Flycatcher (U in WM lowlands),
Pacific Slope Flycatcher (C in WM lowlands),
*Cordilleran Flycatcher (1 at M; possibly others elsewhere),
*Pine Flycatcher (2 at MG; probably others on V),
*Buff-breasted Flycatcher (1 at MG),
Black Phoebe,
Say's Phoebe,
Bright-rumped Attila,
*Yucatan Flycatcher (U - IC, VC, Coba),
Dusky-capped Flycatcher,
Ash-throated Flycatcher (U in WM),
Nutting's Flycatcher (1 at C),
Brown-crested Flycatcher,
Great Kiskadee,
Boat-billed Flycatcher,
Social Flycatcher,
Tropical Kingbird,
Couch's Kingbird (C in Y),
*Thick-billed Kingbird (C in WM),
Western Kingbird (C in WM),
*Grey-collared Becard (U - near El Limon, Singayta near SB, Coba, VC, BRS),
Rose-throated Becard (C and widespread),
Black-crowned Tityra (U at BRS),
Masked Tityra,
Eastern Bluebird,
Red-capped Manakin (1 at VC),
Grey-breasted Martin,
Mangrove Swallow,
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (C; race ridgwayi C in Y - Howell "split'),
Cave Swallow (U in Y),
Barn Swallow,
Violet-green Swallow,
Steller's Jay (race cyanotis C along Highway 175, O),
White-throated Magpie-Jay (party at La Cumbre, Colima),
*Black-throated Magpie-Jay (U - SB area and 40km west of PV),
Green Jay, Brown Jay,
*San Blas Jay (C in WM),
*Yucatan Jay (C in Y),
*Dwarf Jay (10 with Steller's Jays and Grey-barred Wrens, 12km north of La Cumbre, O),
Scrub Jay (race cyanotis C at T),
*Grey-breasted (Mexican) Jay (U at MG),
*Unicoloured Jay (1 in cloud forest above VN),
Northern Raven, *Sinaloa Crow (C in SB area),
*Mexican Chickadee (parties on V and near La Cumbre, O),
*Bridled Titmouse (U - M),
Bushtit (race personatus C near La Cumbre, O),
Brown Creeper,
*Grey-barred Wren (U - parties on V and near La Cumbre, O),
*Spotted Wren (1 at SJ),
*Boucard's Wren (1 at Yagul, 2 at GG),
*Yucatan Wren (2 behind beach 3km north of Celestun),
*Spot-breasted Wren (C in Y),
*Happy Wren (U - SB area and CBS),
*Sinaloa Wren (U - CBS and La Cumbre, Colima),
Carolina (White-browed) Wren (1 at Coba -Howell "split'),
*White-bellied Wren (C - CBS in WM and Y),
House Wren (U - race aedon in WM; musculus in O),
Grey-breasted Wood-Wren (1 above VN),
Ruby-crowned Kinglet,
Long-billed Gnatwren (U - Coba, BRS),
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher,
*Black-capped Gnatcatcher (2 near SB),
White-lored Gnatcatcher (C in Celestun area),
Tropical Gnatcatcher (Y),
*Brown-backed Solitaire (C in WM mountains),
*Slate-coloured Solitaire (1 seen and many heard in cloud forest above VN),
*Russet Nightingale-Thrush (C - MG, V, above VN),
Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush,
*Veery (1 above VN; 1 near La Cumbre, O),
Hermit Thrush, Wood Thrush (C in Y),
Clay-coloured Thrush (C in Y),
*White-throated Thrush (U - M and SB area),
*Rufous-backed Thrush (C in SB area),
American Robin,
*Aztec Thrush (1 on Highway 175 near La Cumbre, O),
Grey Catbird (C in Y),
*Black Catbird (C in Y),
*Blue Mockingbird (C in WM and O),
Tropical Mockingbird (Y),
Northern Mockingbird (WM),
Curve-billed Thrasher (1 at T),
*Grey Silky (Flycatcher) (C in mountains of WM and O),
Loggerhead Shrike,
White-eyed Vireo (C in Y),
Mangrove Vireo (U - Uxmal, Celestun),
*Cozumel Vireo (C on IC),
*Bell's Vireo (U - near El Limon, SB area, SJ),
*Dwarf Vireo (1 at GG; 1 at T),
*Plumbeous (Solitary) Vireo (U - SB area and M),
*Cassin's (Solitary) Vireo (1 at MG), Hutton's Vireo,
*Golden Vireo (1 at SJ; 1 at GG),
Warbling Vireo,
*Yucatan Vireo (C on IC and at Tulum),
Yellow-throated Vireo (Y),
Lesser Greenlet (C in Y),
*Chesnut-sided Shrike-Vireo (1 on V; 1 near La Cumbre, O),
Rufous-browed Peppershrike (race insularis C on IC; flaviventris U at BRS),
Red Crossbill (party at MG),
*Blue-winged Warbler (C in Y),
Orange-crowned Warbler,
*Colima Warbler (2 on V),
Nashville Warbler,
*Virginia's Warbler (U - near El Limon and T),
Lucy's Warbler (U near El Limon),
*Crescent-chested Warbler (U - M, MG),
Northern Parula (Y),
Tropical Parula,
Yellow Warbler (C, including race rufivertex on IC),
Magnolia Warbler (Y),
Yellow-rumped Warbler,
Black-throated Grey Warbler (WM),
Townsend's Warbler (WM),
Hermit Warbler (WM),
Black-throated Green Warbler (Y),
Yellow-throated Warbler (Y),
*Grace's Warbler (C - M, MG),
*Prairie Warbler (1 on IC),
*Palm Warbler (U - IC, VC),
Black-and-white Warbler,
American Redstart,
Prothonotary Warbler (1 at Celestun),
Northern Waterthrush,
Kentucky Warbler (U - Y),
MacGillivray's Warbler (WM),
Common Yellowthroat,
Grey-crowned Yellowthroat (1 at VC),
Hooded Warbler (C in Y),
Wilson's Warbler (WM),
*Red-faced Warbler (C in WM and O mountains),
*Red Warbler (C in WM and O mountains),
*Painted Redstart (C in WM and O mountains),
Slat-throated Redstart,
*Fan-tailed Warbler (1 near Singayta, SB),
Rufous-capped Warbler (race rufifrons C in WM - Howell "split'),
Golden-crowned Warbler (U at SJ),
*Golden-browed Warbler (U -near La Cumbre, O and above VN),
Yellow-breasted Chat,
*Red-breasted Chat (2 at CBS),
*Grey-throated Chat (C in Y),
*Olive Warbler (C in mountains of WM and O),
Bananaquit (race caboti C on IC),
Red-legged Honeycreeper (U -VC),
Scrub Euphonia,
Yellow-throated Euphonia (C in Y),
Blue-hooded Euphonia (U near La Cumbre, O),
*Yellow-winged Tanager (flock at Coba),
*Stripe-headed Tanager (flock on IC),
Grey-headed Tanager (2 at Coba),
*Red-crowned Ant-Tanager (1 at VC), Red-throated Ant-Tanager (C at Coba, VC, BRS),
*Rose-throated Tanager (C in Y),
Hepatic Tanager,
Summer Tanager,
Western Tanager (WM),
*Flame-coloured Tanager (U - MG, M, SJ),
*Red-headed Tanager (1 at SJ),
Crimson-collared Tanager (1 above VN),
Common Bush-Tanager (C above VN),
Greyish Saltator,
Black-headed Saltator,
Northern Cardinal,
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (U - BRS),
Black-headed Grosbeak (C in WM),
Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting,
*Varied Bunting (C in WM and O),
*Orange-breasted (Orange-bellied) Bunting (U - C, Playo de Oro),
Painted Bunting (widespread),
*Blue Bunting (C in WM lowlands and Y),
*Rufous-capped Brushfinch (U - MG, V),
*Green-striped Brushfinch (U - M, V),
Chesnut-capped Brushfinch (U near La Cumbre, O),
Olive Sparrow (U - Y),
*Green-backed Sparrow (U - Coba, VC, BRS),
*Collared Towhee (U - MG, V),
*Olive-backed Towhee (1 at GG),
Canyon Towhee,
*White-throated Towhee (C - GG, Yagul, T),
Blue-black Grassquit,
White-collared Seadeater,
Yellow-faced Grassquit (C in Y, including race intermedia on IC),
*Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer (1 on V; 1 at MG),
*Bridled Sparrow (U - GG and T),
*Oaxaca Sparrow (U - GG and T),
*Black-chested Sparrow (party of 8 at La Cumbre, Colima),
Stripe-headed Sparrow (C in WM),
*Botteri's Sparrow (2 at Monte Albon),
Rufous-crowned Sparrow (U at GG, T),
Savannah Sparrow,
*Rusty Sparrow (1 on Highway 175 above VN),
Chipping Sparrow,
*Clay-coloured Sparrow (U near El Limon),
Lincoln's Sparrow (C in WM),
Lark Sparrow,
Vesper Sparrow,
*Yellow-eyed Junco (C in mountains of WM and O),
*Black-headed Siskin (C in WM mountains),
Lesser Goldfinch,
House Finch,
House Sparrow,
Red-winged Blackbird,
*Melodious Blackbird (C in Y),
Bronzed Cowbird,
Great-tailed Grackle,
Brown-headed Cowbird,
Black-cowled Oriole (C - Coba, VC, BRS),
Orchard Oriole (U in WM and Y),
Scott's Oriole (U in WM),
Hooded Oriole (C - race californicus in WM; cucullatus in Y),
*Black-vented Oriole (C - GG, T),
Bullock's (Northern) Oriole (U in WM),
*Baltimore (Northern) Oriole (U in Y),
*Abeill's (Black-backed) Oriole (1 at SJ),
Audubon's Oriole (1 in SJ, race dickeyae),
*Yellow-tailed Oriole (1 at BRS),
Yellow-backed Oriole (C in Y),
*Orange Oriole (U - Coba, VC, BRS),
Streak-backed Oriole (C in WM),
Altamira Oriole (U in Y),
*Yellow-winged Cacique (C in WM lowlands),
Montezuma Oropendola (U - BRS).

Total - 422


Coatimundi (C at BRS),
Virginia Opossum,
White-tailed Deer,
*Red-bellied Squirrel (C),
Raccoon, Grey Fox,
*Margay (1 spotlighted crossing road near Coba),
Tayra (1 at VC),
Central American Agouti,
Common Grey Four-eyed Opossum (1 near Bacalar),
Central American Spider Monkey (group at BRS),
*Long-tailed Weasel (1 near Uxmal).

Total - 13

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