NW Mexico

Two international airports serve the region - Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. The region can also be reached with a half-day drive from Guadalajara. The essential habitat zones are near Mazatlan so an open jaw flight beginning or ending there is all that is required.

Endemic MUST-SEE BIRDS of this region include: ELEGANT QUAIL, RUFOUS-BELLIED CHACHALACA, MEXICAN WOODNYMPH, MEXICAN PARROLET, EARED POORWILL, SPOTTED WREN, BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER, BLACK-THROATED MAGPIE-JAY, TUFTED, SAN BLAS, & PURPLISH-BACKED JAYS, SINALOA CROW, SINALOA MARTIN, & RED-HEADED TANAGER. Also the endemic form of Rufous-backed Robin [graysoni] winters on the mainland. Additional non-endemic key species include Military Macaw and Rosy Thrush-Tanager.

Endemic SHARED-REGION BIRDS found as easily or more easily in other regions include: WHITE-NAPED SWIFT, MEXICAN HERMIT, GOLDEN-CROWNED EMERALD, BUMBLEBEE HUMMINGBIRD, CITEROLINE TROGON, LILAC-CROWNED PARROT, COLIMA PYGMY-OWL, EARED QUETZAL, GOLDEN-CHEEKED & GRAY-CROWNED WOODPECKERS, GOLDEN VIREO, FLAMMULATED FLYCATCHER, WHITEIPED WOODCREEPER, SINALOA & HAPPY WRENS, RUSSET NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH, RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN, AZTEC THURSH, BLUE MOCKINGBIRD, RED WARBLER, RED-BREASTED CHAT, CINNAMON-RUMPED SEEDEATER, GREENIPED & RUFOUS-CAPPED BRUSH-FINCHES, RUSTY-CROWNED GROUND-SPARROW, AUDUBON'S [DICKEY'S] ORIOLE & YELLOW-WINGED CACIQUE.

The strategy for birding this region depends on target species and the season of the year, as winter visits requiring more time in each location, and the possibility of missing some quiet species. Spring and summer visits can successfully be of a shorter duration as responsive territorial birds add up to less time looking for targets. In addition, the Sinaloa Martin is seen in Mexico only between mid-March and mid-July.

Extended birding time is required in parts of the states of Sinaloa, Nayarit, and Jalisco:

1. The Mazatlan area - arid semi-deciduous thorn forest
2. The Mazatlan-Durango Highway into the Sierra Madre Occidental
3. The Tepic area, including the Cerro San Juan highlands
4. The San Blas area, including the coastal mangroves and estuary system
5. The Puerto Vallarta area, including the Bahia de Banderas

Birding trips in the region will average between six and twelve days depending on the number of habitat-pockets covered [Sierra Madre & Striped Sparrows are a short half-day beyond the Tufted Jay] and/or the season of the year [winter birding is wonderful here].