NE Mexico

Two airports serve this region, and both must be included in a comprehensive visit - Monterrey and Chihuahua City. An open jaw flight that arrives at one airport and departs from the other is ideal for this route:

Endemic MUST-SEE BIRDS of this region include: THICK-BILLED, MAROON-FRONTED, & RED-CROWNED PARROTS, GREEN PARAKEET, TAMAULIPAS PYGMY-OWL, TAWNY-COLLARED NIGHTJAR, EARED QUETZAL, BRONZE-WINGED WOODPECKER, TAMAULIPAS CROW, ATLAMIRA YELLOWTHROAT, WORTHEN'S SPARROW, CRIMSON-COLLARED GROSBEAK, & OCHRE ORIOLE. Other non-endemic birds of high interest better seen in this region include: Thicket Tinamou, Montezuma Quail, Sungrebe, Military Macaw, Yellow-headed Parrot, Lucifer Hummingbird, Gray-collared Becard, Colima Warbler, and Hooded Grosbeak.

There are two strategies for birding this region: [1] visit during the late May-early August breeding season and include NE Mexico, with the side-trip to Chihuahua State; & [2] bird the region during winter, or either of the two migration periods, and concentrate on NE Mexico and the gulf coast. The second option will not include seeing Thick-billed Parrot, Eared Quetzal, or Montezuma Quail, but will include a number of wintering birds from the USA, many of which are rare or limited range in Mexico for a few months each year.

For strategy #2 extended birding time is required in parts of the states of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, San Luis Potosi, and Tamaulipas:

1. The Saltillo area - grasslands and western Sierra Madre Oriental
2. The Linares area - Tamaulipan scrub forest
3. The El Naranjo area - access to the eastern side of the Sierra Madre Oriental
4. The Tampico area - freshwater wetlands and estuary system
5. The Laguna Madre system - coastal dunes and tide flats
6. The Boca de Rio Bravo - the mouth of the Rio Grande River [Mexico side]

For strategy #1 we include the first four birding zones listed above - the gulf coast is excellent only during the winter season - and a flight to Chihuahua City followed by:

7. The Madera area - pinewoods, aspen forests, and highland grasslands
8. [Optional - Yecora, Sonora for Aztec Thrush and Sinaloa Martin]

Birding trips in the region will average between nine and thirteen days depending on the total number of areas covered [strategy #1 is usually a shorter trip than strategy #2] and the season of the year [winter birding is wonderful along the coast, and perfect for checking the many coastal roads for rarities].