If you are looking for amazing bird watching in Texas, a place where over 400 species of birds exist in temperate, subtropical, coastal and desert habitats, the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge may be just what you want. The largest protected area of natural habitat left in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, there are over 45,000 acres of land here for you to visit while bird watching in Texas. In addition, you may see nesting sea turtles, blue crabs, and the occasional ocelot. Now that’s bird watching, Texas style! For a guide to finding and identifying just a sample of the birds found at the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, see below.
Purple Gallinule. This colorful bird can be found while bird watching in the Texas marshes of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Look for their purple and green feathers, bright yellow legs, big feet and red bill! You will sometimes hear this brilliantly colored bird referred to as a “swamp hen.”
Couch’s Kingbird. Spot this common bird while bird watching in the Texas forests and woodlands, usually near water, at the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. This large, colorful flycatcher has a green back, a brown tail and a yellow chest and throat. It is similar to a Tropical Kingbird, but has longer wings and a shorter bill.
Painted Bunting. This gorgeous little bird is easy to identify from its bright blue head, green back, red rump and chest. They usually hide in thickets along the edges of the forests of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. The female birds are solid green and not so easy to see, so look carefully for this little bird when bird watching in Texas.
Short-eared Owl. These owls are not completely nocturnal so you may sometimes glimpse them in the afternoon while bird watching. Look for them in Texas on the prairies of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. This medium-sized owl has tawny feathers and barring on its wings and tail. Their large yellow eyes are encircled by black.
Botteri’s Sparrow. This medium sized sparrow can be found in the tall grasses of the coastal areas of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Look for its pale, blackish-gray feathers and streaked black tail while bird watching in Texas. Up to nine subspecies of this sparrow can be found in the United States.
Hooded Oriole. This bright orange bird is easy to spot in the open forests of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. It also has a long tail and a long, slightly curved bill. The face, throat and back of this medium-sized bird have black feathers, a beautiful sharp contrast to its brilliant orange coloring. Look for them foraging in the Texas shrubs and trees of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.
Prairie Falcon. This is a large Texas falcon that hunts mammals and other birds for its prey. You will see it while bird watching in the grasslands of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Interestingly enough, you may also sometimes see this falcon taking a bath in the shallow waters of the lakes and rivers of this Texas bird watching spot.
Sandhill Crane. You will see this very large bird while bird watching in Texas in the meadows, wetlands and grasslands of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Look for its gray body, sometimes stained reddish, and its red head and white cheeks. As with most cranes, they have long necks and bills, too.
Green-tailed Towhee. The smallest type of towhee, these are still fairly large sparrows. Identify them while bird watching in Texas from the bright green stripes on their wings and tails. They also have a white throat and an orange-red cap. Look for these birds in the brush and thickets of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.