11 Common Birds in Arizona and Best Spots to Find Them


Written by

Clinton Atkins



George Dukes

common birds in arizona

Do you enjoy bird watching? If you live in Arizona, you’ve probably seen dozens of backyard birds perched on your porch or while enjoying a quiet time in the park.

Arizona is an ideal place to spot various types of birds that are a sight to watch. The most common birds in Arizona are Mourning Dove, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, Gila Woodpecker, White-winged Dove, and more.

If you love birds, you’ll enjoy reading the Arizona lists of birds in this article. Who knows you might be able to identify and learn the names of those beautiful birds chirping in your yard.

The Bird Species of Arizona

Did you know that there are 570 bird species in Arizona? At least based on the Arizona Bird Committee (ABC) list. Some are native birds that stay in Arizona all year round while others are migratory birds.

Native Birds of Arizona

  • House Finch
  • Gila Woodpecker
  • Verdin
  • Mourning Dove
  • Lesser Goldfinch
  • Anna’s Hummingbird
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Great-tailed Grackle
  • White-winged Dove

Migratory Birds in Arizona

Arizona Summer Birds Arizona Winter Birds
  • Brown-headed Cowbird
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Black-chinned Hummingbird
  • White-winged dove
  • Broad Billed Hummingbird
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Exploring Birds in Arizona

Since there are 570 bird species in Arizona, it won’t be possible to discuss them all. So we’ve chosen the most common among them all that you’ve possibly encountered.

1. Mourning Dove


Scientific name Zenaida Macroura
Size 12 inches
Weight 112-170 grams
Distinctive Features Rounded head with broad Elliptical Wings. Short reddish-red legs. Short and dark beak with a brown-black shade.
Habitat and Distribution Farms, grassland, urban areas, prairie, and wooded areas. (USA, Greater Antilles, Central America, Mexico, and Canada)
Diet Mostly seeds such as sunflower, sesame, corn, rapeseed, millet, pokeberry, wheat, and safflower.

Mourning Dove, sometimes called Rain Dove, American Mourning Dove, and Turtle Dove, is part of the dove species. It has a medium and slender body with a 37-45 cm wingspan.

Due to its broad wingspan, when it flies it creates a whistling sound that is more audible during take-off and landing. Male Mourning Doves attract the females by making a distinct and mournful sound of “cooOOoo-wooo-woo-woooo.”

Mourning Doves enjoy sunbathing and rain bathing while stretching one of their wings and laying down on the ground or tree limb. They also love water bathing in bird baths and pools, as well as dust bathing.

2. House Finch


Scientific name Haermorhous Mexicanus
Size 5 to 6 inches
Weight 16 to 27 grams
Distinctive Features The face and breasts are reddish with brown lines on the tail, belly, and back. A brown tail that is square-tipped and long.
Habitat and Distribution Backyards, parks, edges, suburban and urban (USA, Canada, and Mexico)
Diet Berries, Aphids, sunflowers, grains, nettle, seeds, and dandelions.

House Finch belongs to the finch species Fringillidae and is a non-migratory bird that stays in Arizona all year round. However, sightings of House Finch have the highest frequency during winter which is 47% and in summer time at 44%.

House Finch makes a sharp “cheep” sound when in flight or while resting. The sound becomes sharper as it descends to the ground. The song of this redhead bird is composed of short notes that usually end with a low or high-pitched slur.

3. Gila Woodpecker


Scientific name Melanerpes Uropygialis
Size 8 to 10 inches
Weight 65 grams
Distinctive Features The wings and back are black and white stripes. Hues of gray and tan on the belly, throat, and neck. The tail is dark with white lines in the middle of the tail.
Habitat and Distribution Suburbs, towns, and desert rivers. (Southwestern US, western Mexico)
Diet Insects, earthworms, small lizards and birds, eggs, cactus fruit, shrub berries, wild fruit, seeds, mistletoe, flowers, and nectar

Gila Woodpecker belongs to the Picidae family and can be spotted all throughout Arizona. Birdwatchers usually get a glimpse of this beautiful bird in the desert perched on a saguaro cactus, particularly in the morning.

Gila Woodpecker creates a unique rolling “churr”, “kee-u kee-u”, and “yip yip yip” sound which is music to the ears.

4. Common Raven


Scientific name Corvus Corax
Size 21 to 26 inches
Weight 0.69 to 2 kg
Distinctive Features Slightly curved and large beak, feathers are luminous black that changes color when illuminated,
Habitat and Distribution Evergreen forests, roadside, wooded areas, tundra (Northern hemisphere)
Diet scavenges on maggots, beetles, and carrion

Common Raven is a passerine bird known by different names depending on the subspecies level. It is considered one of the heaviest and largest passerine birds and has a lifespan of over 23 years.

Although these large birds only have black feathers, they seem to change colors when seen at different angles.

While this black bird produces many different sounds, the most common is the gurgling croak that increases in pitch.

5. White-winged Dove

Scientific name Zenaida Asiatica
Size 11 inches
Weight 150 grams
Distinctive Features Has a blue eye ring. The upper body is brownish gray with a white patch on the wings. Brighter pink to red feet.


Habitat and Distribution River woods, grasslands, groves, deserts, brush lands, towns, saguaros, mesquites (Arizona, San Antonio, northern New Mexico, Kansas, the Caribbean, Arkansas, Oklahoma)
Diet Fruits, seeds, and grains


You can catch a glimpse of these lovely White-winged Doves from March to September, during their breeding season. They usually fly at high altitudes and are commonly spotted around Sky Harbor, which is also one of their feeding grounds.

You can hear them call “hhhHEPEP pou poooo” or “pep pair pooa paair pooa paair pooa” mostly in the afternoon or before sunrise.

6. Lesser Goldfinch


Scientific name Spinus Psaltria
Size 3.5 to 4.7 inches
Weight 8 to 11.5 grams
Distinctive Features Bright yellow underbody with white patches on the wings and tail.
Habitat and Distribution Backyards and any place with shrubs or trees. (Southwestern US, Washington, Venezuela, Peru)
Diet  Weed seeds and tree buds

Lesser Goldfinch is one of the small birds in Arizona. While they stay in Southern Arizona all year round, some fly to Northern Arizona during the breeding season.

Some of the distinctive sounds they make are “chig chig chig”, high-pitched “teeeyeee”, and “teeeyooo.”

7. Verdin


Scientific name Auriparus Flaviceps
Size 4.5 inches
Weight 6.8 grams
Distinctive Features Gray body with bright yellow head and brownish-red shoulder patch
Habitat and Distribution Urban areas, mesquite bosques, Sonoran Desert (Southwest Desert of US and Mexico)
Diet  Mostly insects such as beetles, spiders, and caterpillars

Verdin is a member of the family of penduline tit. Just like Lesser Goldfinch, they are tiny birds with an average weight of 6 grams.

This yellow-headed bird is considered a monogamous breeder. During winter they fly to the south and come back to the north when it’s springtime. While they feed mostly on insects, they also feed on nectars, flowers, and seeds.

Although they are small in size they make very loud and rapid calls with usual notes as “tschep tschep.” When in danger, a Verdin makes a “gee-gee-gee-gee” call.

8. Anna’s Hummingbird


Scientific name Calypte Anna
Size 3.9 to 4.3 inches
Weight 3-6 grams
Distinctive Features Color-changing bronze-green back. Chest and belly are pale gray with green flanks
Habitat and Distribution  Backyards, oak savannas, coastal scrub, open woodland, chaparral (Western Coast of North America and South Canada)
Diet  Insects, flowers, and nectar

Anna’s Hummingbird got its name from the Duchess of Rivoli, Anna Masséna. It is part of the Trochilidae family. They are commonly spotted during springtime in areas with bright-colored flowers.

This colorful bird also loves visiting hummingbird feeders as they relish hummingbird nectar.

What’s interesting about Anna’s Hummingbird is that during courtship, the male bird sings a scattered squeaky sound with chirping and buzzing. The song can last for more than 10 seconds.

9. White-crowned Sparrow


Scientific name Zonotrichia Leucophrys
Size 5.9 to 6.3 inches
Weight 25 to 28 grams
Distinctive Features Black and white striped head with a gray face. The upper body has brown streaks and gray underparts. Beak is either yellow or pink.
Habitat and Distribution Brushy areas (Western USA and Canada)
Diet Plants, seeds, and insects

The White-crowned Sparrow is a migratory bird belonging to the Passerine species. During winter they migrate to warmer and dryer areas such as Central America. They return to the north during the breeding season which is in spring.

You can also hear their thin but sweet whistles when it’s breeding season.

10. Curve-billed Thrasher


Scientific name Toxostoma Curvirostre
Size 10.6 to 11 inches
Weight 60 to 94 grams
Distinctive Features Long concave beak with short brownish-black wings and long tail. Grayish-brown chest with spots of brown-gray.
Habitat and Distribution Areas with cacti, piñon, woodland edges, backyards, and dry desert bushland (Desert regions of the United States and Mexico)
Diet Butterflies, moths, beetles, snails, and arachnids


Curve-billed Thrasher is a member of the Mimidae family. Their long and curve bill allows them to hunt insects in the deserts.

This medium-sized bird is known for being wild and at the same time shy. Although they can be wild, they allow people to have a closer look at them. However, it can get very violent when predators and food competitors are nearby.

Curve-billed Thrasher is considered a songbird or cuicacoche in Mexico due to its various unique songs. You can also hear them produce a “whit-wheet” whistling call.

11. Cactus Wren


Scientific name Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus
Size 7.1 to 7.5 inches
Weight 33.4 and 46.9 grams
Distinctive Features Body is mostly brown with specks of white. Its underpart is a lighter shade of brown with black specks. It has white eyebrows and its beak is thick, long and slightly curved.
Habitat and Distribution Desert areas (Southwestern USA and central and northern Mexico)
Diet Mainly an insectivore but also feeds on nectar, fruits, seeds, and small reptiles


While Cactus Wren only has a frequency of less than 16%, it made it to the list since it’s the Arizona state bird. It is also considered as the biggest wren in the USA.

You can easily identify its call with raspy “jar-jar-jar” and “char” notes. Each call can last for at least 4 seconds and it gets louder as they continue to sing.

Best Bird Watching Spots in Arizona

Arizona is known for its beautiful parks and deserts which are the perfect place for birdwatching. So, here are some of the best spots to check out and some bird watching tips.

1. Patagonia Lake State Park


Established in 1975, Patagonia Lake State Park is one of Arizona’s hidden gems and a perfect place for birdwatching.

Some of the birds you can see in this park are Canyon Towhee, different types of hummingbirds, vermilion flycatchers, Inca Doves, and Black Vultures to name a few.

Other activities you can enjoy aside from birdwatching are fishing, hiking, water skiing, and camping.

Birdwatching Tips:

  • Ideal for those who want to see desert scrub birds and waterfowls.
  • Campers can bring feed to feed birds such as verdins and hummingbirds.
  • Visit the place during spring-summer to spot Lucy Warblers, Zone-tailed Hawks, Black Vultures, Bell’s Vireos, and more.
  • Follow the trail going to Soras and Virginia Rails to avoid distractions and lead you directly to some nice spots in the Patagonia Lake State Park.
  • Prepare $15-$20 for an admission fee.

2. Riparian Preserve at Gilbert Water Ranch


Another spot worth visiting is the Riparian Preserve at Gilbert Water Ranch. It is home to more or less 298 bird species. Unlike Patagonia Lake State Park, visiting the Riparian Preserve is free.

Birdwatching Tips:

  • Great place to see winter birds, migrants, native desert birds, and some rare ones.
  • Best to check out the trails twice so you won’t miss out on any birds.
  • It doesn’t matter if you visit it in the morning or evening as you’ll get more or less the same results.
  • Bring a telescope to witness some shorebirds and waterfowl.

3. Granada Park


If you’re visiting Phoenix Arizona, make sure to stop by at the Granada Park. It may be a small park but there are at least 146 bird species here.

Some of the birds you can find are hummingbirds, Gila Woodpeckers, thrashers, gnatcatchers, and more.

Birdwatching Tips:

  • Check out the palm trees and watch out for some beautiful lovebirds in the western part of the park.
  • Inca Doves can be found in the natural and grassy areas.
  • Always be watchful of rattlesnakes since you’ll never know when you’ll encounter one.


Were you able to identify common birds in Arizona in your yard or while hiking the Arizona desert? They are all fun and beautiful creatures to watch, so enjoy their presence the next time you spot them!

Hope you find this list with pictures of Arizona birds informative and helpful on your next birdwatching adventure.

5/5 - (1 vote)

You May Also Like

what do cardinals eat in the winter

What Do Cardinals Eat in the Winter?

Northern America and the Caribbean are often home to the cardinals. These birds don’t migrate ...

place where birds live

Place Where Birds Live is an Aviary

An aviary is a place where birds live when not in the wild. It is ...

how many eggs does an-ostrich lay a year

How Many Eggs Does an Ostrich Lay a Year?

Many countries, such as Brazil, the USA, and China, support thousands of ostrich farms. Knowing ...

do birds eat frogs

Do Birds Eat Frogs?

Do birds eat frogs? The answer is yes! There are many things to know about ...

how to keep birds from nesting in wreaths

How to Keep Birds From Nesting in Wreaths?

The holiday season is here, which means the decorative wreath is now out and hanging ...

why do small birds chase big birds

Why Do Small Birds Chase Big Birds (Hawks)

Why do small birds chase big birds? The answer is to drive them away and ...