Verdin; Photo: Vera Markham


Verdins are a small-sized bird. Verdins’ bodies are gray, with rufous patches on the upper shoulders on their wings. Their head is a lemon-color. Verdins move quickly through trees to forage for insects, seeds, and berries to eat. Verdins often call in a flurry.




Cactus Wren; Photo: Vera Markham


Cactus Wren are a larger species of wren. A Cactus Wren’s back is streaked black and white and their belly is white with black spots. They have a black crown atop their head with a white eye stripe underneath. The Cactus Wren is Arizona’s state bird. Cactus Wren hide among brush. As implied by their name, they often nest in cacti cavities.




Mourning Dove; Photo: Vera Markham


Mourning Doves are a gray-brown color. They have black eyes and a blue eye-ring. Mourning Doves have tails that are long and tapered, which is very evident when they fly. When they fly, their wings whistle loudly. Their calls resemble the sound of crying, earning them the name Mourning Dove.



Gambel’s Quail; Photo: Vera Markham


Gambel’s Quail are a sexually dimorphic species. Both sexes have an overall gray body, brown streaked flanks, and buffy underparts. They also have a black plume atop their head. Males have a brown crown and a black throat. Females do not have this crown and black throat. Gambel’s Quail stick to the ground and tend to run to their destination.



Red-tailed Hawk; Photo: Kathy Dashiell

Red-tailed Hawks are very variable — ranging from white to dark brown. One of their most characteristic traits are their red tail feathers with black bands along the ends; however, not all Red-tailed Hawks’ tails are red. Their bellies typically have a dark belly band. A diagnostic characteristic is the dark bar on the shoulder of their wings, also known as patagials, which is only seen in-flight. Check on the top of poles and powerlines to find Red-tailed Hawk; they are the most common hawk in Arizona.


Anna’s Hummingbird; Photo: Vera Markham


Anna’s Hummingbird are another sexually dimorphic species. Both sexes have a green body and white patch behind their eyes. Males are distinguished by their pink-ish red throat — also known as a gorget. Anna’s Hummingbirds are attracted to native tubular flowers with floral nectar and are an incredibly important pollinator. Arizona is lucky to have a diverse range of hummingbird species.




House Finch; Photo: Vera Markham


House Finch are sexually dimorphic. For both males and females, their bodies are generally brown, and they have brown streaking on their chest and flanks. Males have a red head and rump, although sometimes this color may vary depending on the bird’s diet. Sometimes they can be yellow instead!




Curve-billed Thrasher; Photo: Vera Markham


Curve-billed Thrashers are gray-brown along the top of their body. They have spots along their chest, which is a paler color. Their short beak, as their name implies, is slightly curved. They have a bright yellow eye. Curve-billed Thrashers stick to the ground and like to stay hidden in brush.




Abert’s Towhee; Photo: Vera Markham


Abert’s Towhee is a species endemic to the Southwest, with Arizona being one of its main habitats. Their body is a gray-brown. One of the main characteristics of Abert’s Towhee is the black patch near their beak and eye. Their beak is a light gray. They can often be found along the ground, feeding on insects near bushes. Abert’s Towhee have high-pitched calls.



Say’s Phoebe; Photo: Vera Markham


Say’s Phoebe have a gray upper body. Their lower belly is a rufous color. When Say’s Phoebe catch insects, they often choose a perch. They stay on this perch and then fly in a circular path to capture insects. Usually, they return to the same perch and repeat this motion several times.






Burrowing Owl; Photo: Bob McCormick

Burrowing Owls are a small, diurnal owl species. They dwell on the ground and often take over the old burrows of prairie dogs and tortoises. Wild at Heart Raptors creates artificial burrows to provide them with homes, especially with the increase of urbanization. Burrowing Owls have a brown upper body with white spots. Their underside is white and their legs are long. Their eyes are bright yellow.


Gila Woodpecker; Photo: Vera Markham


Gila Woodpeckers are a gray-ish brown, medium-sized bird. Their wings and tail are a checkered black and white pattern. Their bill is black. A male Gila Woodpecker has a red spot on the crown of their head. Females do not have this red spot. During nesting season, they may create and use a cavity in a saguaro to build their nest. When flying, they tend to swoop down and then back up in a rolling motion.