Arizona Field Ornithologist

List of Arizona Birds Considered Rare


For recent changes to the Arizona state bird list, click here.


This is the list of Arizona rare birds classified as either “Review” or “Sketch Details” species.  See the ABC Web Site for more details. 


AZFO encourages submission of photos of all these species.  However, only those species in boldface will normally be posted.  See detailed explanation below. 


Review species are the most rare species and are selected by the Arizona Bird Committee as those species requiring documentation.  All photos of these species are posted and all are boldfaced in the list below. 


Sketch Details species, which are less rare, are indicated by a #.  These species are selected by the editors of North American Birds as requiring brief notes or photos to be included in the seasonal reports in North American Birds.  All submitted photos of these species are forwarded to the NAB editors. However, beginning 01 January 2013, only the rarer species, indicated in boldface, will be routinely posted.  The more common sketch details species will only be posted if they occur out of their expected range or season. 


Arranged in taxonomic order.  Grouped by family.


Anatidae - Ducks, Geese and Swans

Fulvous Whistling-Duck - Dendrocygna bicolor
Brant -
Branta bernicla
Cackling Goose -
Branta hutchinsii #
Trumpeter Swan -
Cygnus buccinator
Baikal Teal - Sibirionetta formosa

Garganey - Spatula querquedula

Eurasian Wigeon - Mareca penelope  #
"Eurasian" Green-winged Teal -
Anas crecca crecca
Tufted Duck -
Aythya fuligula
Greater Scaup -
Aythya marila  # (away from the Lower Colorado River)
Harlequin Duck -
Histrionicus histrionicus
Surf Scoter - Melanitta perspicillata  #
White-winged Scoter - Melanitta fusca  #
Black Scoter -
Melanitta nigra
Long-tailed Duck -
Clangula hyemalis  #
Barrow's Goldeneye -
Bucephala islandica  # (away from the Lower Colorado River)


Podicipedidae - Grebes

Least Grebe - Tachybaptus dominicus
Horned Grebe - Podiceps auritus  #
Red-necked Grebe - Podiceps grisegena  #

Columbidae - Pigeons and Doves

Ruddy Ground-Dove - Columbina talpacoti  #

 Cuculidae - Cuckoos, Roadrunners, and Anis

Black-billed Cuckoo - Coccyzus erythropthalmus
Groove-billed Ani - Crotophaga


Caprimulgidae - Nighthawks and Nightjars

Buff-collared Nightjar - Antrostomus ridgwayi
Eastern Whip-poor-will
 - Antrostomus vociferus


Apodidae - Swifts

Black Swift - Cypseloides niger
Chimney Swift - Chaetura pelagica


Trochilidae - Hummingbirds

Plain-capped Starthroat - Heliomaster constantii #

Lucifer Hummingbird - Calothorax lucifer  #

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - Archilochus colubris

Bumblebee Hummingbird - Atthis heloisa
Allen's Hummingbird - Selasphorus sasin  #

Berylline Hummingbird - Amazilia beryllina #
Cinnamon Hummingbird -
Amazilia rutila

White-eared Hummingbird - Hylocharis leucotis  #


Rallidae - Rails, Gallinules, and Coots

Purple Gallinule - Porphyrio martinica


Gruidae - Cranes

Common Crane - Grus grus


Charadriidae - Plovers

American Golden-Plover - Pluvialis dominica #
Pacific Golden-Plover - Pluvialis fulva

Lesser Sand-Plover - Charadrius mongolus


Jacanidae - Jacanas

Northern Jacana - Jacana spinosa


Scolopacidae - Sandpipers, Phalaropes, and Allies

Upland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicauda
Whimbrel - Numenius phaeopus  # (outside of Yuma County)
Hudsonian Godwit - Limosa haemastica
Ruddy Turnstone - Arenaria interpres

Black Turnstone - Arenaria melanocephala
Red Knot - Calidris canutus

Ruff - Calidris pugnax
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper - Calidris acuminata
White-rumped Sandpiper - Calidris fuscicollis
Buff-breasted Sandpiper - Calidris subruficollis
Semipalmated Sandpiper - Calidris pusilla  #

Short-billed Dowitcher - Limnodromus griseus  #
Wandering Tattler - Tringa incana

Red Phalarope - Phalaropus fulicarius  #

Stercorariidae - Jaegers

Pomarine Jaeger - Stercorarius pomarinus
Parasitic Jaeger - Stercorarius parasiticus
Long-tailed Jaeger - Stercorarius longicaudus


Laridae - Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers

Black-legged Kittiwake - Rissa tridactyla

Ivory Gull - Pagophila eburnea

Sabine's Gull - Xema sabini  #

Little Gull - Hydrocoloeus minutus

Laughing Gull - Leucophaeus atricilla #
Heermann's Gull - Larus heermanni  #
Mew Gull - Larus canus
Western Gull - Larus occidentalis

Yellow-footed Gull - Larus livens
Herring Gull - Larus argentatus  # (away from the Lower Colorado River)
Iceland Gull (Thayer's)- Larus glaucoides thayeri

Lesser Black-backed Gull - Larus fuscus
Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus glaucescens
Glaucous Gull - Larus hyperboreus

Least Tern - Sternula antillarum  #

Gull-billed Tern - Gelochelidon nilotica
Arctic Tern - Sterna paradisaea

Royal Tern - Thalasseus maximus
Elegant Tern -
Thalasseus elegans
Black Skimmer - Rynchops niger


Phaethontidae - Tropicbirds

White-tailed Tropicbird - Phaethon lepturus
Red-billed Tropicbird -
Phaethon aethereus


Gaviidae - Loons

Red-throated Loon - Gavia stellata  #
Pacific Loon - Gavia pacifica  #
Yellow-billed Loon - Gavia adamsii


Diomedeidae - Albatrosses

Laysan Albatross - Phoebastria immutabilis


Hydrobatidae - Storm-Petrels

Leach's/Townsend's/Ainley's Storm-Petrel - Oceanodroma leucorhoa/socorroensis/cheimomnestes
Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel - Oceanodroma tethys

Black Storm-Petrel - Oceanodroma melania
Least Storm-Petrel -
Oceanodroma microsoma


Procellariidae - Shearwaters

Juan Fernandez Petrel - Pterodroma externa

Hawaiian Petrel - Pterodroma sandwichensis

Wedge-tailed Shearwater - Ardenna pacifica

Sooty Shearwater - Ardenna griseus

Black-vented Shearwater - Puffinus opisthomelas


Ciconiidae - Storks

Wood Stork - Mycteria americana


Fregatidae - Frigatebirds

Magnificent Frigatebird - Fregata magnificens


Sulidae - Boobies

Blue-footed Booby - Sula nebouxii
Brown Booby - Sula leucogaster


Anhingidae - Anhinga

Anhinga - Anhinga anhinga

Ardeidae - Bitterns, Herons, and Egrets

Little Blue Heron - Egretta caerulea  #
Tricolored Heron - Egretta tricolor  #
Reddish Egret - Egretta rufescens #
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron - Nyctanassa violacea


Threskiornithidae - Ibises and Spoonbills

White Ibis - Eudocimus albus
Glossy Ibis - Plegadis falcinellus
Roseate Spoonbill - Platalea ajaja #

Accipitridae - Kites, Eagles, and Hawks

Swallow-tailed Kite - Elanoides forficatus
White-tailed Hawk - Geranoaetus albicaudatus

Red-shouldered Hawk - Buteo lineatus #
Broad-winged Hawk - Buteo platypterus #
Short-tailed Hawk -
Buteo brachyurus #
"Harlan's" Red-tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis harlani  #
Rough-legged Hawk - Buteo lagopus  #

Strigidae - Typical Owls

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl - Glaucidium brasilianum  #


Trogonidae - Trogons and Quetzals

Eared Quetzal - Euptilotis neoxenus


Picidae - Woodpeckers

Red-headed Woodpecker - Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - Sphyrapicus varius  #
Red-breasted Sapsucker - Sphyrapicus ruber #
"Yellow-shafted" Northern Flicker - Colaptes
auratus auratus #


Falconidae - Caracaras and Falcons

Aplomado Falcon - Falco femoralis


Psittacidae - Parrots

Thick-billed Parrot - Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha


Tityridae - Becards and Tityras

Gray-collared Becard - Pachyramphus major

Rose-throated Becard - Pachyramphus aglaiae


Tyrannidae - Tyrant Flycatchers

Tufted Flycatcher - Mitrephanes phaeocercus

Eastern Wood-Pewee - Contopus virens
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - Empidonax flaviventris
Acadian Flycatcher - Empidonax virescens
Least Flycatcher - Empidonax minimus

Eastern Phoebe - Sayornis phoebe  #
Nutting's Flycatcher - Myiarchus nuttingi
Great Crested Flycatcher - Myiarchus crinitus
Great Kiskadee - Pitangus sulphuratus

Couch's Kingbird - Tyrannus couchii

Eastern Kingbird - Tyrannus tyrannus  #
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Tyrannus forficatus  #


Laniidae - Shrikes

Northern Shrike - Lanius excubitor  #


Vireonidae - Vireos

Black-capped Vireo - Vireo atricapilla

White-eyed Vireo - Vireo griseus #

"Eastern" Bell's Vireo - Vireo bellii medius/bellii
Yellow-throated Vireo - Vireo flavifrons #
Blue-headed Vireo - Vireo solitarius
Philadelphia Vireo - Vireo philadelphicus

Red-eyed Vireo - Vireo olivaceus
Yellow-green Vireo - Vireo flavoviridis


Corvidae - Jays, Magpies, Crows, and Ravens

Blue Jay - Cyanocitta cristata


Hirundinidae - Swallows

Brown-chested Martin - Progne tapera

Cave Swallow - Petrochelidon fulva


Paridae - Chickadees and Titmice

Black-capped Chickadee - Poecile atricapillus


Troglodytidae - Wrens

Pacific Wren - Troglodytes pacificus #

Winter Wren - Troglodytes hiemalis #

Sedge Wren - Cistothorus platensis

Carolina Wren - Thryothorus ludovicianus

Sinaloa Wren - Thryothorus sinaloa


Polioptilidae - Gnatcatchers

Black-capped Gnatcatcher - Polioptila nigriceps #


Muscicapidae - Old World Flycatchers

Northern Wheatear - Oenanthe oenanthe


Turdidae - Thrushes

Brown-backed Solitaire - Myadestes occidentalis

 Veery - Catharus fuscescens
Gray-cheeked Thrush -
Catharus minimus
Wood Thrush -
Hylocichla mustelina
Rufous-backed Robin - Turdus rufopalliatus  #
Varied Thrush - Ixoreus naevius  #
Aztec Thrush -
Ridgwayia pinicola


Mimidae - Catbirds, Mockingbirds, and Thrashers

Blue Mockingbird - Melanotis caerulescens

Gray Catbird - Dumetella carolinensis  #
Brown Thrasher - Toxostoma rufum  #


Bombycillidae - Waxwings

Bohemian Waxwing - Bombycilla garrulus


Motacillidae - Wagtails and Pipits

White Wagtail - Motacilla alba
Red-throated Pipit - Anthus cervinus


Fringillidae - Finches and Goldfinches

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch - Leucosticte tephrocotis

Black Rosy-Finch - Leucosticte atrata

Purple Finch - Haemorhous purpureus #

"Eastern" Purple Finch - Haemorhous purpureus purpureus

Common Redpoll - Acanthis flammea

White-winged Crossbill - Loxia leucoptera


Calcariidae -Longspurs and Snow Buntings

Lapland Longspur - Calcarius lapponicus  #
Smith's Longspur - Calcarius pictus
McCown's Longspur - Rhynchophanes mccownii #

Snow Bunting - Plectrophenax nivalis


Emberizidae - Old World Buntings

Little Bunting - Emberiza pusilla


Passerellidae - New World Sparrows

Eastern Towhee - Pipilo erythrophthalmus
American Tree Sparrow - Spizelloides arborea
Field Sparrow - Spizella pusilla
"Large-billed" Savannah Sparrow - Passerculus sandwichensis rostratus
LeConte's Sparrow - Ammodramus leconteii

Nelson's Sparrow - Ammodramus nelsoni
"Sooty" Fox Sparrow - Passerella iliaca unalaschcensis
"Thick-billed" Fox Sparrow - Passerella iliaca megarhyncha

"Red" Fox Sparrow - Passerella iliaca iliaca complex  #
Harris's Sparrow - Zonotrichia querula #

Golden-crowned Sparrow - Zonotrichia atricapilla #
"White-winged" Dark-eyed Junco - Junco hyemalis aikeni


Icteridae - Blackbirds and New World Orioles

Bobolink - Dolichonyx oryzivorus

Black-vented Oriole - Icterus wagleri
Orchard Oriole - Icterus spurius #
Streak-backed Oriole - Icterus pustulatus #
Baltimore Oriole - Icterus galbula  #

Rusty Blackbird - Euphagus carolinus
Common Grackle - Quiscalus quiscula


Parulidae - Wood Warblers

Ovenbird - Seiurus aurocapilla #

Worm-eating Warbler - Helmitheros vermivorum #

Louisiana Waterthrush - Parkesia motacilla #

Golden-winged Warbler - Vermivora chrysoptera

Blue-winged Warbler - Vermivora cyanoptera
Prothonotary Warbler - Protonotaria citrea #

Swainson's Warbler - Limnothlypis swainsonii

Crescent-chested Warbler - Oreothlypis superciliosa

Tennessee Warbler - Oreothlypis peregrina  #

"Celata" Orange-crowned Warbler - Oreothlypis celata celata #

Connecticut Warbler - Oporornis agilis
Mourning Warbler -
Geothlypis philadelphia

Kentucky Warbler - Geothlypis formosa  

Hooded Warbler - Setophaga citrina  #
Cape May Warbler -
Setophaga tigrina

Cerulean Warbler - Setophaga cerulea  

Tropical Parula - Setophaga pitiayumi

Magnolia Warbler - Setophaga magnolia  #

Bay-breasted Warbler - Setophaga castanea  

Blackburnian Warbler - Setophaga fusca

"Mangrove" Yellow Warbler - Setophaga petechia bryanti
Chestnut-sided Warbler -
Setophaga pensylvanica  #
Blackpoll Warbler -
Setophaga striata  
Black-throated Blue Warbler -
Setophaga caerulescens  #

Palm Warbler - Setophaga palmarum #

Pine Warbler - Setophaga pinus

Yellow-throated Warbler - Setophaga dominica #

Prairie Warbler - Setophaga discolor  

Black-throated Green Warbler - Setophaga virens
Fan-tailed Warbler -
Basileuterus lachrymosus  

Rufous-capped Warbler - Basileuterus rufifrons #

Canada Warbler - Cardellina canadensis

Slate-throated Redstart - Myioborus miniatus


Cardinalidae - Cardinals, Grosbeaks, and Buntings

Scarlet Tanager - Piranga olivacea #
Flame-colored Tanager - Piranga bidentata

Yellow Grosbeak - Pheucticus chrysopeplus
Painted Bunting - Passerina ciris  #

Dickcissel - Spiza americana  #




Arizona Rarities


Crescent-chested Warbler
Madera Canyon
Photo by Hans Spiecker

Black-capped Gnatcatcher
California Gulch
Photo by Mark Stevenson

Rufous-capped Warbler
Cave Creek Canyon
Photo by Robert Shantz

Tufted Flycatcher
White Rock Canyon
Photo by Steven and Julie Servantez

Flame-colored Tanager
Madera Canyon
Photo by James Prudente

Slate-throated Redstart
Carr Canyon
Photo by Kurt Radamaker

Aztec Thrush
Madera Canyon
Photo by Al Tozier

Plain-capped Startthroat
Agua Caliente Park
Photo by Oliver Niehuis

Yellow Grosbeak
Huachuca Mountains
Photo by Robert A. Behrstock

Northern Jacana
Casa Grande
Photo by Brendon Grice
Gilbert Water Ranch
Photo by Michael Moore
Madera Canyon
Photo by Oliver Niehuis
Rufous-backed Robin
Catalina State Park
Photo by Clifford Cathers
Ruddy Ground-Dove
El Mirage
Photo by Pierre Deviche
Madera Canyon
Photo by Clair Postmus

Elegant Tern
Gilbert Water Ranch
Photo by Brendon Grice

Yellow-billed Loon
Tempe Town Lake
Photo by Michael Moore

Gilbert Water Ranch
Photo by Rich Ditch

White-rumped Sandpiper
Photo by Rob and Rita Colwell

Photo by Peter Dedicoat

Lesser Black-backed Gull
River Road
Photo by Chris Benesh

Long-tailed Jaeger
Ashurst Lake
Photo by Jeff Estis


Status and distribution review
Mark Stevenson
Kurt Radamaker
Michael C. Moore
Janet Witzeman
David Vander Pluym
Lauren Harter

All photos are copyrighted© by photographer

Photos posted here are not automatically considered submitted records to the ABC. To submit a review species please go to Reports. Photos used here prior to evaluation by the ABC should be considered pending records rather than accepted records; in some cases, they may carry preliminary identifications that may change or the photos may not in the end provide definitive identification.

Suggestions for submitting
photos to AZFO

Image Preparation Guidelines

© Copyright 2008

Updated Tuesday, August 10, 2010