Texas Nature

Birding Texas

Each year, many thousands of birders visit the birding Mecca of Texas. The state’s immense size—over 11 hours driving east to west, 12 hours north to south, and 60 percent more land area than California—defines landscape-scale habitat diversity. Pine forests in the east host an abundance of breeding warblers and woodpeckers, and the Chihuahuan Desert of western Texas supports Montezuma Quail, Lucifer Hummingbird, and Black-chinned Sparrow. Ferruginous Hawk and Lark Bunting breed among the grasslands of the Texas Panhandle, and the 367-mile Gulf-of-Mexico coastline hosts innumerable waterbirds fall through spring. Spend an April day at the famous High Island and you might tally up to 30 warbler species. The Rio Grande River shapes the state’s southern boundary with Mexico; nowhere else in North America can you find Plain Chachalaca, White-tipped Dove, Green Jay, Long-billed Thrasher, Olive Sparrow, and Audubon’s and Altamira Orioles. Deep in the heart of Texas, the Hill Country offers the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo. For landscape diversity, don’t let the flat terrain in the eastern and southern parts of the state fool you. From the swampy (and bird-rich) bottomlands in the east, Texas climbs to 8,751 feet in the west, and the 1000-foot-deep Palo Duro Canyon sneaks up on you until you reach the rim. The Hill Country—or Edwards Plateau—showcases an impressive limestone escarpment displaying stories (and fossils) from past eons, when the land was underwater. Want to see the Houston Toad or the Barton Springs or San Marcos salamanders? Better come to Texas for these endemic amphibians. And botany fanatics will have a field-day in this giant state, with over 60 endemic flowers in the Aster family alone.

What to See in Texas

Notable Birds in Texas (click species name to see related articles)

Notable Mammals and Other Wildlife

  • Javalina
  • Houston Toad
  • Barton Springs Salamander
  • San Marcos Salamander

Other Attractions

Where and When to Go

Nature & Birding Hotspots in Texas

  • Rio Grande Valley / McAllen
  • Big Bend
  • Corpus Christi
  • Laguna Atascosa NWR
  • South Padre Island
  • Brownsville Dump
  • King Ranch
  • Martin Ranch
  • Port Isabel
  • Edwards Plateau
  • Palo Duro Canyon

Texas Birding and Nature Tours

Texas Ecolodges/Accommodations

  • Los Alamos Inn

Best Time to Go

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