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23 January - 20 February 1998

by Greg Roberts

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

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


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) 12 km 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 Nuevo 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 Alban 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 7 km 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 4 km south of Bacalar.

15/2.  Birded road to biological research station (BRS) 10 km 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-Partridge (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 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 Hummingbird (5 on V)

*Garnet-throated Hummingbird (1 in cloud forest above VN)

*Plain-capped Starthroat (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, 12 km 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 3 km 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)

*Chestnut-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)

Chestnut-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 Seedeater

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)


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

Greg Roberts ,

Birding Top 500 Counter