It's important to work toward the recovery of birds facing the threat of extinction, birds like the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo or Mexican Spotted Owl, but it's also critical that we keep an eye on our common birds. Across the Southwest, birds, even our most common backyard residents, face a myriad of threats and without our attention, they too could one day be on the brink.
That's why we and our collaborators with the Arizona Important Bird Area program compiled this list of "Watch List" species. Fifty-one species altogether (43 of which breed in Arizona), birds may find themselves on this list for a number of reasons:
- They recieved a vulnerability score greater than 12 in their 2016 State of the Birds Report species assessment.
- They are a Road to Recovery "On Alert" species.
- They are listed as Threatened or Endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).
- They are a Tipping Point Species (IN BOLD) and are on a trajectory to lose another fifty percent of their population in the next fifty years or already have perilously small populations and continue to face high threats.
MIgrants and vagrants without significant dependence on Arizona habitats were not included in this list, as this list focuses on species for which Arizona has a stewardship responsibility. Species below are listed by or wintering/migratory status (two species appear on both lists).
Birds are listed in the following format:
Common Name (Scientific name) [vulnerability score] ((Other Status))
Abert's Towhee (Melozone aberti) 
Arizona Woodpecker (Picoides arizonae) 
Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata) 
Bell's Vireo (Vireo bellii) 
Bendire's Thrasher (Toxostoma bendirei) 
Black-chinned Sparrow (Spizella atrogularis) 
Black Rail (California) (Laterallus jamaicensis) 
Blue-throated Mountain-gem (Lampornis clemenciae) 
Botteri’s Sparrow (Peucaea botterii) 
California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus)  ((Endangered under the ESA))
Clark's Grebe (Aechmophorus clarkia)  ((Road to Recovery On Alert Species))
Costa's Hummingbird (Calypte costae) 
Elegant Trogon (Trogon elegans) 
Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi) 
Five-striped Sparrow (Amophispizopsis quinquestriata) 
Flammulated Owl (Otus flammeolus) 
Gilded Flicker (Colaptes chrysoides) 
Grace's Warbler (Dendroica graciae)  ((Road to Recovery On Alert Species))
Gray Vireo (Vireo vicinior) 
Le Conte's Thrasher (Toxostoma lecontei) 
Lewis's Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis) 
Lucy's Warbler (Leiothlypis luciae) 
Mexican Chickadee (Poecile sclateri) 
Montezuma Quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae) 
Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus) 
Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi  ((Road to Recovery On Alert Species))
Pinyon Jay (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus) 
Red-faced Warbler (Cardellina rubrifrons) 
Ridgway’s Rail (Yuma) (Rallus obsoletus  ((Endangered under the ESA))
Rufous-winged Sparrow (Peucaea carpalis) 
Sagebrush Sparrow (Artemisiospiza nevadensis) 
Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata) 
Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrines) 
Spotted Owl (Mexican) (Strix occidentalis)  ((Threatened under the ESA))
Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) 
Thick-billed Kingbird (Tyrannus crassirostris) 
Thick-billed Parrot (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha) 
Varied Bunting (Passerina versicolor) 
Virginia's Warbler (Leiothlypis virginiae) 
Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis)  ((Road to Recovery On Alert Species))
Williamson’s Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus thyroideus) 
Willow Flycatcher (Southwest) (Empidonax traillii extimus)  ((Endangered under the ESA))
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Western DPS) (Coccyzus americanus)  ((Threatened under the ESA))
Baird's Sparrow (Centronyx bairdii)  ((Road to Recovery On Alert Species))
Chestnut-collared Longspur (Calcarius ornatus) 
Lark Bunting (Calamospiza melanocrys) 
Lawrence's Goldfinch (Spinus lawrencei) 
Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) 
Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus)  ((Road to Recovery On Alert Species))
Mountain Plover* (Charadrius montanus) 
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) 
Sagebrush Sparrow* (Artemisiospiza nevadensis) 
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) 
Sprague's Pipit (Anthus spragueii) 
Thick-billed Longspur (Rhynchophanes mccownii)  ((Road to Recovery On Alert Species))
Yuma Ridgway's Rail Conservation
Using science to inform advocacy and conservation that protects an elusive, federally endangered marsh bird.
Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo Conservation
Preventing drought, climate, and irresponsible land management from silencing the Rain Crow
Pinyon Jay Conservation
Protecting one of the Intermountain West's most iconic species
How you can help, right now
Join the Western Rivers Action Network
Join WRAN to receive action alerts about water issues, as well as issues that are affecting birds across the arid West.
Help secure the future for birds at risk from climate change, habitat loss, and other threats. Your support will power our science, education, advocacy and on-the-ground conservation efforts.
Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center
Visit the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix, Arizona.