Top 33 Backyard Birds in New Mexico (Free ID Chart)

Backyard Birds New Mexico ID Chart Free

Have you wondered what those birds are that are visiting your backyard in New Mexico?

Well, this guide will help you to find out how to identify these birds by sight and sound and what time of year you can spot them in New Mexico. Also, get a free ID chart to print with the most common backyard birds in New Mexico.

In New Mexico, Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Mourning Doves, Lesser Goldfinch, and Western Kingbirds are more common in summer and Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned Sparrow, and Northern Flickers are more common in winter.

Backyard birds in New Mexico all year: House Finch, American Robin, Northern Flicker, American Crow, Lesser Goldfinch, Spotted Towhee, White-winged Dove, House Sparrow, White-breasted Nuthatch, Say’s Phoebe, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Red-winged Blackbird, Pine Siskin, Mountain Chickadee, Western Bluebird, Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee
Backyard birds in New Mexico in summer:
Mourning Dove, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Western Kingbird, Barn Swallow, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Northern Mockingbird, Chipping Sparrow, Black-headed Grosbeak, Western Tanager
Backyard birds in New Mexico in winter: Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Goldfinch

These are the most common backyard birds in New Mexico that may visit your lawn or feeders. They are the birds that appear most frequently on state checklists submitted by bird watchers on ebird.

This article gives you identification information and photos to help you identify and attract more of the common backyard birds that you can spot in New Mexico.

Facts About Birds in New Mexico

The Greater Roadrunner is the state bird of New Mexico.  This ground cuckoo was chosen in 1949 and can run at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour.

There are 558 species of bird recorded in New Mexico, according to ebird.  Some of the highlight birds in New Mexico are Black-chinned Hummingbird, Golden Eagle, Wild Turkey, Pyrrhuloxia, American White Pelican, Osprey, White-faced Ibis, Long-eared Owl, Rough-legged Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Great Blue Heron, Sandhill Crane, Northern Shoveler, and Greater Roadrunner.

The biggest bird in New Mexico is the California Condor, with a wingspan of up to 10 feet (3 m). This critically endangered bird is being helped with captive breeding and has risen from a low of just 27 birds to over 300.

The smallest bird in New Mexico is the Calliope Hummingbird which is only about 3 in long, but they can travel long distances from Canada all the way to southern Mexico.

The most common bird in New Mexico is the House Finch, which is seen in 46% of recorded checklists for the state on ebird throughout the year.

New Mexico has 2 national parks, 5 national forests, 8 national wildlife refuges, and 35 state parks that offer excellent bird watching opportunities if you want to get out and watch birds in their natural environment.

Read to the end of this article to find out more about the other birds you may be able to spot if you go out birding in New Mexico and how to attract and identify birds.

Free Printable Backyard Birds Worksheet for New Mexico

These free bird identification worksheets have all the common backyard birds in New Mexico at different times of the year. So when you want to do some backyard birding, these handy guides have pictures and space to either tick off the types of birds you have seen or keep a tally of the total number of birds.

Backyard Birds Identification Worksheet New Mexico Page 1
Backyard Birds Identification Worksheet New Mexico Page 2
Backyard Birds Identification Worksheet New Mexico Page 3

Top 33 Backyard Birds In New Mexico:

1. Dark-eyed Junco

Dark eyed junco for identification

Dark-eyed Juncos are frequently spotted during winter in New Mexico, and they are recorded in up to 80% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state. They are mainly spotted from October to April, but some remain all year.

Dark-eyed Juncos are sparrows that are different colors depending on the state. They are generally slate-colored in the east and black, white, and brown in the west.

  • Junco hyemalis
  • Length: 5.5-6.3 in (14-16 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz (18-30 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-9.8 in (18-25 cm)

Dark-eyed Juncos remain resident all year in northeastern and western US states and the Appalachian Mountains. Those that breed in Canada and Alaska migrate south in winter to the United States.

They can be found in open and partially wooded areas, often on the ground, and are common across the continent. 

Dark-eyed Junco Song:

Credit: Bobby Wilcox, XC667170. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/667170.

Attract Dark-eyed Juncos to backyard feeders with a variety of seeds such as black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, millet, and peanuts. Platform feeders or scattered on the ground is best.

2. House Finch

House Finches are residents of New Mexico all year. They do not migrate and appear in 45% of summer checklists and 47% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.

House Finches males have a red head and breast, and the rest of their bodies are mainly brown-streaked. Females are brown-streaked all over. 

  • Haemorhous mexicanus
  • Length: 5.1-5.5 in (13-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz (16-27 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in (20-25 cm)

Originally only in western US states, House Finches were introduced to eastern US states and have done very well, even pushing out the Purple Finch.

They can be found in parks, farms, forest edges, and backyard feeders in noisy groups that are hard to miss.

House Finch Song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC653352. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/653352.

House Finch Call:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC612573. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/612573.

Attract House Finches to backyard feeders with black oil sunflower seeds or nyjer seeds in tube feeders or platform feeders.

There are lots of other red birds in New Mexico that you can spot.

3. Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Mourning Doves are spotted all year in New Mexico in the east and south of the state. However, they are more common during the breeding season in the northwest of the state. They are recorded in 41% of summer checklists and 15% of winter checklists.

Mourning Doves are graceful small-headed birds with plump bodies and long tails. They are a soft brown color with black spots on the wings. Males are slightly heavier than females.

  • Zenaida macroura
  • Length: 9.1-13.4 in (23-34 cm)
  • Weight: 3.0 -6.0 oz (96-170 g)
  • Wingspan: 17.7 in (45 cm)

Mourning Doves are common over all of the lower 48 all year but may migrate after breeding from the north of the Midwest and southern Canada.

Mourning Doves can be seen perching on telephone wires and foraging for seeds on the ground in grasslands, fields, and backyards. They can also be found in open areas or woodland edges.

Mourning Dove call:

Credit: Peter Ward and Ken Hall, XC613539. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/613539.

Attract Mourning Doves to your backyard by scattering millet on the ground or platform feeders. They will also eat black sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, and peanut hearts.

4. Black-chinned Hummingbird

black chinned hummingbird
Black-chinned Hummingbird male
Black chinned hummingbird female
Black-chinned Hummingbird Female (credit: Gary Leavens)

Black-chinned Hummingbirds are frequently spotted in New Mexico during summer and appear in 34% of checklists at this time. They can be seen mainly from March to November.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds are dull metallic green on the back and grayish-white underneath. The males have a black throat with a thin iridescent purple base, and the females have a pale throat and white tips on the tail feathers.

  • Length: 3.5 in (9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (2.3-4.9 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 in (11 cm)

In summer, black-chinned Hummingbirds breed predominantly inland in western states from British Columbia to Baja California.

After breeding, they may move to higher mountain areas with abundant flowers before migrating to western Mexico, southern California, and the Gulf Coast in the winter. Migration of Black-chinned Hummingbirds usually occurs in March and September.

Black-chinned Hummingbird calls and wingbeat:

Thomas G. Graves, XC495007. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/495007.

They eat nectar, small insects, and spiders, and their tongues can lick 13-17 times per second when feeding on nectar. Nests of Black-chinned Hummingbirds are made of plant down and spider silk to hold them together, and they lay two tiny white eggs that are only 0.6 in (1.3 cm)

Black-chinned Hummingbirds can often be seen sitting at the top of dead trees on tiny bare branches and often return to a favorite perch. They can be found along canyons and rivers or by shady oaks.

If you get a buzz out of hummingbirds, then check out all the hummingbirds in New Mexico and when is best to spot them.

5. American Robin

American Robin for identification

American Robins can be spotted all year in New Mexico. They appear in 30% of summer checklists and 28% of winter checklists for the state.

American Robins are a common sight on lawns eating earthworms. They have black heads and backs with red or orange breasts. They tend to roost in trees in winter, so you are more likely to see them in your backyard from spring.

  • Turdus migratorius
  • Length: 7.9-11.0 in (20-28 cm)
  • Weight: 2.7-3.0 oz (77-85 g)
  • Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in (31-40 cm)

American Robins are residents in the lower 48 and the coast of Western Canada and Alaska. Those that breed in Canada and inland Alaska move south for the winter.

American Robins can be found in many habitats, from woodlands, forests, and mountains to fields, parks, and lawns. They eat earthworms, insects, snails, and fruit.

American Robin Song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC656426. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/656426.

American Robin Call:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC698509. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/698509.

Attract American Robins to your backyard with sunflower seeds, suet and peanut hearts, fruit, and mealworms. Platform feeders are best or food scattered on the ground. Also, try planting some native plants that produce berries, such as juniper, sumac, hawthorn, and dogwood.

6. White-crowned Sparrow

white-crowned sparrow

White-crowned Sparrows are more frequently spotted in New Mexico during winter from September to May and appear in 32% of winter checklists at this time.

White-crowned Sparrows are large grayish sparrows with long tails, small bills, and bold black and white stripes on their heads.

  • Zonotrichia leucophrys
  • Length: 5.9-6.3 in (15-16 cm)
  • Weight: 0.9-1.0 oz (25-28 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.3-9.4 in (21-24 cm)

White-crowned Sparrows breed in Alaska and arctic Canada before heading south to the lower 48 and Mexico for winter. However, some may remain along the Pacific Coast and the mountainous west all year.

You can find White-crowned Sparrows in weedy fields, along roadsides, forest edges,  and in yards foraging for seeds of weeds and grasses or fruit such as elderberries and blackberries.

White-crowned Sparrow Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC678159. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/678159.

Attract White-crowned Sparrows to your backyard with sunflower seeds, and they will also eat seeds that other birds drop at feeders.

7. Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

Northern Flickers are seen throughout New Mexico all year, but they are more common during winter. They are spotted in 15% of summer checklists but up to 31% of winter checklists.

Northern Flickers are large brown woodpeckers with black spots and a white patch on their rump in flight, plus a red nape of the neck in the males. 

Northern Flickers have red or yellow flashes in the wings and tail depending on where they originate. Red-shafted birds live in the west, and yellow-shafted birds live in the east.

  • Colaptes auratus
  • Length: 11.0-12.2 in (28-31 cm)
  • Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz (110-160 g)
  • Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in (42-51 cm)

Northern Flickers can be spotted across the US all year and in Canada during summer. Those that breed in Canada migrate south for the winter.

Northern Flickers mainly eat ants, beetles, fruits, and seeds, and they can often be seen on the ground digging with their curved bill.

Northern flicker Call:

Credit: Thomas Ryder Payne, XC636252. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/636252.

Attract Northern Flickers to your backyard with suet.

Some woodpeckers are more easily recognized than others, but with this guide, you can identify all the woodpeckers in New Mexico.

8. American Crow

American Crow for identification

American Crows are spotted all year in New Mexico, but their numbers increase during winter from November to March. They appear in 10% of summer checklists and 27% of winter checklists.

American crows are large all-black birds that make a hoarse, cawing sound.

  • Corvus brachyrhynchos
  • Length: 15.8-20.9 in (40-53 cm)
  • Weight: 11.2-21.9 oz (316-620 g)
  • Wingspan: 33.5-39.4 in (85-100 cm)

American Crows are residents all year in most of the lower 48 and the Pacific Coast in Canada and Alaska. Those that breed in Canada and the northern Midwest migrate south for winter.

They are common birds found in most habitats, including treetops, woods, fields, beaches, or towns.

They eat most things and usually feed on the ground, eating earthworms, insects, seeds, and fruit. They also eat fish, young turtles, mussels, and clams and will even eat eggs and nestlings of many species of birds.

In winter, American Crows gather in large numbers of up to two million crows to sleep in noisy communal roosts.

American Crow Call:

Credit: Russ Wigh, XC569711. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/569711.

Attract American Crows to your backyard by scattering peanuts, but they can become a nuisance as they are attracted by garbage or pet food if left out.

9. Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinch male

Lesser Goldfinches spend the breeding season in northern New Mexico, but they also remain in the south of the state all year. They are recorded in 24% of summer checklists and 13% of winter checklists for the state.

Lesser Goldfinches are tiny bright yellow and black songbirds with long pointed wings and short notched tails. Females have olive backs and are more dull yellow underneath.

  • Spinus psaltria
  • Length: 3.5-4.3 in (9-11 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (8-11.5 g)
  • Wingspan: 5.9-7.9 in (15-20 cm)

Lesser Goldfinches live in the southwestern US states and the West Coast all year, but those that breed in the interior of western US states migrate for winter.

Lesser Goldfinches can be found in large flocks in open habitats, including thickets, weedy fields, forest clearings, parks, and gardens. They forage for seeds, especially sunflower seeds, but also fruits from elderberry, coffeeberry, and buds from cottonwoods, willows, sycamores, and alders.

Lesser Goldfinch call/Song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC428720. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/428720.

Attract Lesser Goldfinches to your yard with sunflower seeds and nyjer in tube feeders or platform feeders.

There are a surprising number of finches in New Mexico that you can get to know.

10. Spotted Towhee

spotted towhee

Spotted Towhees are residents of New Mexico all year, and they are recorded in around 29% of summer checklists and 22% of winter checklists.

Spotted Towhees are large sparrows that are black on their head, throat, and back in the males and brown in the females. Both males and females have reddish-brown sides, white bellies, and white spots on the wings and back. They have long tails and are about the size of a Robin.

  • Pipilo maculatus
  • Length: 6.7-8.3 in (17-21 cm)
  • Weight: 1.2-1.7 oz (33-49 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.0 in (28 cm)

Spotted Towhees live in western US states, but those in the interior of the north migrate south after breeding to Texas and surrounding areas.

You can find Spotted Towhees on the ground in dense tangles of shrubs scratching around for insects, including beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars, wasps, and bees. They also eat acorns, berries, and seeds.

Spotted Towhee Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC662426. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/662426.

Attract Spotted Towhees to your yard if you leave overgrown borders, and they will visit platform feeders or ground feeders for black oil sunflower seeds, hulled sunflower seeds, cracked corn, millet, and milo.

11. White-winged Dove

White-winged dove

White-winged Doves are found all year in New Mexico and occur in 26% of summer and winter checklists.

White-winged Doves are pale gray-brown with a black line on the cheek and a white stripe on the edge of the closed wing, which is striking to see on the middle of their dark wing in flight. Males and females look the same.

  • Zenaida asiatica
  • Weight: 4.4-6.6 oz (125-187 g)
  • Wingspan: 18.9-22.8 in (48-58 cm)

White-winged Doves breed along the southern border with Mexico and are resident in Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies.  Those to the north of the range may move south towards the Gulf Coast or into Mexico for winter.

You can find White-winged Doves in deserts, dense, thorny forests, woodlands, and suburban areas. Their diet is mostly grain, fruits, and large seeds, and they forage on the ground.

White-winged Dove Call:

Richard E. Webster, XC660907. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/660907.

Attract White-winged Doves to your yard with sunflower, corn, safflower, and milo on platform feeders. Also, plant native berry-producing shrubs.

12. Western Kingbird

Western Kingbird

Western Kingbirds spend the breeding season in New Mexico and are mainly spotted here from April to mid-November. They are recorded in 24% of summer checklists.

Western Kingbirds are large flycatchers with yellow bellies, whitish chests, gray heads, grayish-brown wings, and black tails with white edges.

  • Tyrannus verticalis
  • Length: 7.9-9.4 in (20-24 cm)
  • Weight: 1.3-1.6 oz (37-46 g)
  • Wingspan: 15.0-16.1 in (38-41 cm)

Western Kingbirds breed in summer in western US states, the plains area, and into Canada. They migrate to Mexico and Central America, but some may overwinter in the south of Florida.

You can find Western Kingbirds in open habitats, and they are often found perched on fences and utility lines, waiting for insects to fly by before catching them in mid-flight.

Western Kingbird call:

Credit: Paul Marvin, XC552239. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/552239.

Attract Western Kingbirds to your yard by making it insect-friendly and planting elderberry or hawthorn, from which they will also eat the fruit.

There are so many yellow birds in New Mexico that you will spot, especially in spring.

13. Barn Swallow

barn swallow

Barn Swallows spend the breeding season in New Mexico and occur in 23% of summer checklists. They are mainly seen from March to October.

Barn Swallows are small birds with a deep-blue back, wings and tail, and reddish-brown underneath and across the face. Their tail has long outer feathers that give a deep fork. The dark color of their back can make them look black-and-white.

  • Hirundo rustica
  • Length: 5.9-7.5 in (15-19 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-0.7 oz (17-20 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.4-12.6 in (29-32 cm)

Barn Swallows breed in Canada and the US  before heading to Central and South America. They can be found flying over meadows, farms, and fields looking for insects and usually build mud nests on man-made structures such as in barns.

Barn Swallow Song:

Attract Barn Swallows by putting up nest boxes or cups, and they may eat ground-up eggshells on a platform feeder.

14. House Sparrow

House sparrow for identification

House Sparrows are an introduced species in New Mexico that can be spotted here all year. They do not migrate and occur in 22% of both summer and winter checklists for the state.

The House Sparrow is another introduced species that has done very well and is now one of the most common birds. They have gray and brown heads and white cheeks. Their backs are black and brown, and their bellies are gray.

  • Passer domesticus
  • Length: 5.9-6.7 in (15-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.9-1.1 oz (27-30 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 in (19-25 cm)

House Sparrows live in the US and Southern Canada all year.

You can find them near houses and buildings, and they can be pretty tame, and they may even eat out of your hand.

House Sparrows eat mostly grain and seed as well as discarded food. They can be considered a pest because they are non-native, but they are found in backyards even if you do not feed them.

House Sparrow Song:

Credit: Olivier SWIFT, XC697951. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/697951.

Attract House Sparrows to your backyard feeders with most kinds of birdseed, including millet, corn, and sunflower seeds.

Sparrows are known as LBJs (Little brown jobs) but if you want to know more, check out this guide to sparrows in New Mexico.

15. White-breasted Nuthatch

White breasted nuthatch for identification

White-breasted Nuthatches do not migrate and can be spotted in New Mexico all year. They appear in 16% of summer and winter checklists.

White-breasted Nuthatches are active little birds that are gray-blue on the back and white on the face and belly, with a black cap. They will often have a chestnut color on the lower belly and under the tail.

  • Sitta carolinensis
  • Length: 5.1-5.5 in (13-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz (18-30 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.9-10.6 in (20-27 cm)

White-breasted Nuthatches live all year in the US and southern Canada.

You can find White-breasted Nuthatches in deciduous forests, woodland edges, parks, and yards with trees or at feeders. They mainly eat insects, including beetles and their larvae, caterpillars, ants, and also spiders.

White-breasted Nuthatches also eat seeds and nuts, including acorns, hawthorns, sunflower seeds, and sometimes corn crops. They jam large nuts and acorns into tree bark and then whack them with their bills to open or ‘hatch’ them to get the seed out.

White-breasted Nutcracker Call:

Credit: Russ Wigh, XC560678. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/560678.

Attract White-breasted Nuthatches to your backyard with sunflower seeds and peanuts on tube feeders or suet feeders.

16. Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird male (Selasphorus platycercus)
Male
Broad tailed Hummingbird female
Female

Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are mainly spotted in New Mexico during summer and appear in 19% of checklists at this time. They can be seen in the state usually from March to November, but a few hang around for longer.

Broad-tailed Hummingbirds live in higher elevations and are iridescent green on the back, brownish on the wings, and white on the chest and into the belly. Males have an iridescent rose throat, and females and juveniles have green spots on their throats and cheeks.

  • Length: 3.1-3.5 in (8-9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (2.8-4.5 g)

Broad-tailed Hummingbirds breed in high meadows and open woodlands between 5,000 – 10,000 feet elevation in the mountainous west, between late May and August between central Idaho, southern Montana, northern Wyoming, and south to California.

Migration south is to southern Mexico for winter, but some Broad-tailed Hummingbirds may stay on the Gulf Coast. Migration of Broad-tailed Hummingbirds occurs in April and again in late August and September.

Due to the cold at higher elevations, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird can slow their heart rate and drop their body temperature to enter a state of torpor.

Nectar from flowers is the usual food of hummingbirds, and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds drink from larkspur, red columbine, sage, and scarlet gilia, and they will also come to hummingbird nectar feeders. They supplement their diet with small insects and feed their young on insects.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird nests are usually on evergreen or aspen branches and are made with spider webs and gossamer under overhanging branches for added insulation during cold nights.

17. Say’s Phoebe

Say's Phoebe

Say’s Phoebes spend the breeding season in northern New Mexico but remain all year in the south of the state. They appear in 19% of summer checklists and 12% of winter checklists.

Say’s Phoebes are slender, long-tailed flycatchers that are brownish-gray above and with a cinnamon belly, gray breast, and blackish tail.

  • Sayornis saya
  • Length: 6.7 in (17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.7-0.8 oz (21-22 g)

Say’s Phoebes breed in Alaska, northwestern Canada, and the northern U.S before migrating south to southwestern states and Mexico.  Those in southern states remain all year.

You can find Say’s Phoebes in open country, including badlands, canyons, and desert borders.

Say’s Phoebe’s are flycatchers, and their diet is mostly insects such as beetles, crickets, bees, and flies. They often nest on buildings and can be seen perched on fence posts and around buildings or in their nests under an eave.

Say’s Phoebes’ song:

Paul Marvin, XC719936. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/719936.

Attract Say’s Phoebes to your yard by putting up a nest box or a shelf attached to a building to encourage nesting and plant native trees and shrubs.

18. Song Sparrow

Song sparrow for identification

Song Sparrows are more common in New Mexico in winter from October to May and are recorded in 15% of winter checklists. However, some breed in the north of the state and occur in 2% of summer checklists.

Song sparrows are not as remarkable looking as other backyard birds, but these predominantly brown-streaked birds use their almost constant song to attract mates in spring and summer.

  • Melospiza melodia
  • Length: 4.7-6.7 in (12-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-1.9 oz (12-53 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-9.4 in (18-24 cm)

Song Sparrows live all year in the northern US states. Those that breed in Canada migrate to southern US states for winter.

They can be found in open, shrubby, and wet areas, often perched on a low shrub singing. They are often found at backyard feeders.

Song Sparrows eat a wide variety of insects and plants, including beetles, caterpillars, midges, spiders, and earthworms. They will also eat buckwheat, sunflower, raspberries, wild cherries, blackberries, wheat, and rice.

Song Sparrow Song:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC692182. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/692182.

Song Sparrow Call:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC683210. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/683210.

Attract Song Sparrows to your backyard feeders by putting black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and nyjer on platform feeders.

19. Northern Mockingbird

Northern mockingbird for identification

Northern Mockingbirds are more frequently spotted in New Mexico during the breeding season from April to August. However, some stay in the south of the state all year. They occur in 19% of summer checklists and 2% of winter checklists.

Northern Mockingbirds are medium-sized songbirds with small heads and long tails. They are a gray-brown color and slightly paler on the underside than their back, and they have two white wingbars visible in flight.

  • Mimus polyglottos
  • Length: 8.3-10.2 in (21-26 cm)
  • Weight: 1.6-2.0 oz (45-58 g)
  • Wingspan: 12.2-13.8 in (31-35 cm)

Northern Mockingbirds do not migrate and can be spotted across the lower 48 and southern Canada.

They are usually seen alone or in pairs and aggressively defend their territory. A male mockingbird can learn around 200 songs in its life, copying other birds’ songs, and they can sing all through the day and into the night.

Northern Mockingbird Call/Song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC654864. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/654864.

Attract more Northern Mockingbirds to your backyard by planting fruiting trees or bushes, including hawthorns, mulberries, and blackberry brambles. They don’t often visit feeders, but they will come to open lawn areas.

20. Yellow-rumped Warbler

yellow rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped Warblers can be spotted in New Mexico all year, but their numbers increase during migration from April to May and from September to October.

Yellow-rumped Warblers are gray with flashes of yellow on the face, sides, and rump and white in the wings.

Females may be slightly brown, and winter birds are paler brown with bright yellow rumps and sides turning bright yellow and gray again in spring.

  • Setophaga coronata
  • Length: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz (12-13 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.1 in (19-23 cm)

Yellow-rumped Warblers breed predominantly in Canada and parts of the Rockies and the Appalachian mountains.

During migration, they can be seen in the Midwest before overwintering in southern and southwestern US states and the Pacific Coast and into Mexico and Central America.

You can find Yellow-rumped Warblers in coniferous forests, especially during the breeding season. During winter, they can be found in open areas with fruiting shrubs. In summer, they eat mostly insects and on migration, and in winter, they eat mostly fruit, including bayberry and wax myrtle. 

Yellow-rumped Warbler Song:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC602699. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/602699.

Attract Yellow-rumped Warblers to your backyard with sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter.

21. Eurasian Collared-Dove

Eurasian collared dove

Eurasian Collared-Doves can be spotted all year in New Mexico. They do not migrate and occur in 19% of summer checklists and 16% of winter checklists for the state.

Eurasian-collard Doves are light brownish-gray, with white patches in the tail, and look very similar to Mourning Doves, but with a black half collar at the nape of the neck. They are also larger and with a square tail rather than pointed.

  • Streptopelia decaocto
  • Length: 11.4-11.8 in (29-30 cm)
  • Weight: 4.9-6.3 oz (140-180 g)
  • Wingspan: 13.8 in (35 cm)

Eurasian Collared-Doves are an introduced species that only arrived in the 1980s but now live across most of the United States.

You can find Eurasian Collared-Doves in most areas, including rural and suburban and they eat a wide variety of seeds and grain but also eat some berries and insects.

Eurasian Collared-Dove song:

Manuel Grosselet, XC722058. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/722058.

22. Red-winged Blackbird

Red winged blackbird for identification

Red-winged blackbirds can be spotted all year in New Mexico and appear in 16% of summer checklists and 14% of winter checklists for the state.

Red-winged blackbirds are very common and easy to identify with the all-black coloring except for the reddish-orange wing patches. Females are rather dull in comparison with streaky brown color.

  • Agelaius phoeniceus
  • Length: 6.7-9.1 in (17-23 cm)
  • Weight: 1.1-2.7 oz (32-77 g)
  • Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in (31-40 cm)

Red-winged Blackbirds remain all year in the lower 48 and the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. Those that breed in Canada and some northern US states migrate south for the winter.

They can often be spotted sitting on telephone wires, and the males will fiercely defend their territories in the breeding season, even attacking people that get too close to their nests. In winter, they roost in large numbers into the millions.

Red-winged Blackbird Song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC629168. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/629168.

Red-winged Blackbird Calls:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC669258. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/669258.

Attract Red-winged blackbirds to your backyard with mixed grain and seeds spread on the ground. They will also feed from large tube feeders or platform feeders.

Blackbirds are a vast family of birds that have numerous family members, and why don’t you get to know all the blackbirds in New Mexico?

23. Pine Siskin

pine siskin

Pine Siskins are spotted in New Mexico all year. They appear in 12% of summer and winter checklists for the state.

Pine Siskins are small brown finches with yellow streaks on the wing and tail. They have a forked tail and pointed wings, with a short pointed bill.

  • Spinus Pinus
  • Length: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz (12-18 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-8.7 in (18-22 cm)

Pine Siskins remain all year in the pine forests in the western states and along the Canadian Border. Some also breed in Canada before heading south for winter.

Depending on pine cone crops, they can be found over much of North America. As their name suggests, Pine Siskins predominantly eat seeds from conifers, but they also eat young buds and seeds from grasses and weeds.

Pine Siskin Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC348803. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/348803.

Nests of Pine Siskins are built ten to fifty feet high above the ground, away from the tree trunk. They are usually made of twigs, barks, and moss and are home to three to five eggs. It takes about thirteen days for the eggs to hatch.

Attract Pine Siskins to your backyards with thistle and nyjer feeders but also black oil sunflower seeds and suet.

Fun Fact: The name “Siskin” comes from the Pine Siskin’s chirp. So, it’s basically a “pine chirper.”

24. Chipping Sparrow

chipping sparrow

Chipping Sparrows spend the breeding season in north and west New Mexico and are recorded in 16% of summer checklists, but up to 30% during the migration. However, some spend the winter in the south and are spotted in around 3% of checklists at this time.

Chipping Sparrows are slender, long-tailed birds with a grayish belly and brown and black-streaked back, with a rusty crown and black eye line. In winter, the colors are more subdued.

  • Spizella passerina
  • Length: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz (11-16 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.3 in (21 cm)

Chipping Sparrows spend their summer breeding in the US and Canada before flying to Mexico and Florida for winter. Some remain all year in the southern states.

You can find Chipping Sparrows in small flocks on open ground and will come to backyards for many kinds of birdseed.

Chipping Sparrow Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC611297. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/611297.

Attract Chipping Sparrows to your backyard with seeds or cracked corn on open feeders such as hoppers or platforms.

25. Mountain Chickadee

mountain chickadee

Mountain Chickadees do not migrate and are residents of New Mexico all year. They are mainly spotted in the north and west of the state and are recorded in 11% of summer checklists and 13% of winter checklists.

Mountain Chickadees are tiny birds with black-and-white heads and gray over the body, darker on the back and light gray underneath.

  • Poecile gambeli
  • Length: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4 oz (11 g)

Mountain Chickadees live in the mountains west of the US all year and do not migrate but may move down the mountain to lower areas in winter.

You can find Mountain Chickadees in evergreen forests, especially those with pine and conifers.  They eat insects and spiders, nuts, and seeds and will often visit backyard feeders. Mountain Chickadees will often stash food for later and create a store of food.

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC619853. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/619853.

Attract Mountain Chickadees to your yard by putting up nest boxes, and they will visit most types of feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, mealworms, nyjer, suet, and peanut butter.

26. Western Bluebird

western bluebird

Western Bluebirds are spotted in New Mexico more from September to May, but they are also spotted all year. They appear in 10% of summer checklists and 14% of winter checklists.

Western Bluebirds are blue birds with orange chests. They are very social small stocky thrushes that are shiny blue on the back and rust-orange on the breast and across the upper back in the males. 

Females are not so bright and instead, they are a dull buff-gray, with pale orange on the breast and blue tints to the wings and tail.

  • Sialia mexicana
  • Length: 6.3-7.5 in (16-19 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8-1.1 oz (24-31 g)
  • Wingspan: 11.4-13.4 in (29-34 cm)

Western Bluebirds are found in western US states and do not usually migrate. However, some birds in the far northwest may migrate south or to lower elevations.

You can find Western Bluebirds in woodlands rather than open areas, and they are readily found in areas that have dead trees, such as burned forests and logged areas.

I Summer Western Bluebirds cat insects such as caterpillars, beetles, and ants, as well as spiders and snails or other ground-dwelling insects. In winter, Western Bluebirds eat fruit such as elderberry, grapes, mistletoe, raspberries, blackberries, sumac, and juniper.

Western Bluebird songs:

Paul Marvin, XC571075. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/571075.

Attract Western Bluebirds to your yard by offering mealworms in summer and put up a nest box. Also, plant berry plants such as elderberry, raspberries, and juniper.

27. Black-headed Grosbeak

black headed grosbeak
Male
Black headed Grosbeak female
Female

Black-headed Grosbeaks spend the breeding season in New Mexico and occur in 22% of summer checklists. They are usually spotted here from April to October.

Black-headed Grosbeaks are large songbirds with orange breasts and throats and black wings and heads. Females are brown on the back and with brown spots on their pale orange breasts. 

  • Pheucticus melanocephalus
  • Length: 7.1-7.5 in (18-19 cm)
  • Weight: 1.2-1.7 oz (35-49 g)
  • Wingspan: 12.6 in (32 cm)

Black-headed Grosbeaks breed in western US states and migrate to Mexico for the winter.

You can find Black-headed Grosbeaks in habitats with access to water, and they often visit backyards. Their large bills are great for crushing seeds and insects such as snails and beetles.

Black-headed Grosbeak Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC661850. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/661850.

Attract Black-headed Grosbeaks to your backyard with sunflower seed feeders. They will also feed on oriole feeders.

28. Ruby-crowned Kinglet

ruby crowned kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglets are often spotted in New Mexico during winter in the south of the state, but they are also seen during migration in the north of the state. They occur in 13% of winter checklists and up to 25% of checklists during fall migration.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets are small songbirds that are olive-green, and the males have a brilliant red crown that is usually flat, so hard to see.

  • Corthylio calendula
  • Length: 3.5-4.3 in (9-11 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.3 oz (5-10 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.1 in (16-18 cm)

Ruby-crowned Kinglets breed in Canada and the mountainous west before migrating to southern and southwestern US states and Mexico for the winter. 

Ruby-crowned Kinglets can be hard to spot as they are fast-moving quiet birds that flit around in the foliage of lower branches and shrubs and trees looking for spiders and insects.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC628827. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/628827.

Attract Ruby-crowned Kinglets with suet or platform feeders with hulled sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, and mealworms.

29. Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy woodpecker

Hairy Woodpeckers are pretty common and can be found all year in New Mexico. They are recorded in 8% of summer checklists and 6% of winter checklists.

Hairy Woodpeckers are medium-sized woodpeckers with a black and white pattern and a large white patch on their backs. The males have a flash of red towards the back of their heads.

They are visually similar to Downy Woodpeckers but larger and with longer bills. As they are often found in the same areas, it is hard to tell them apart if they are not near each other. 

  • Dryobates villosus
  • Length: 7.1-10.2 in (18-26 cm)
  • Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz (40-95 g)
  • Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in (33-41 cm)

Hairy Woodpeckers do not migrate and live in all US states and Canada, except the far north of Canada.

You can find Hairy Woodpeckers in woodlands on trunks or main branches of large trees, but they are also found in a wide variety of habitats, including woodlots, parks, and cemeteries. Hairy Woodpeckers’ diet is mostly insects.

Hairy Woodpecker Call/drumming:

Credit: Ron Overholtz, XC621902. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/621902.

Attract Hairy Woodpeckers to your backyard with suet feeders.

30. Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker for identification in Massachusetts MA

Downy Woodpeckers live in New Mexico all year, mainly in the northern part of the state around Santa Fe. They are spotted in 4% of summer checklists and 7% of winter checklists.

Downy Woodpeckers are small birds that are common at backyard feeders. They are often mixed in with other birds, such as chickadees and nuthatches. 

They have black and white coloring with a red patch at the back of their heads. They look similar to the Hairy Woodpecker but smaller.

  • Dryobates pubescens
  • Length: 5.5-6.7 in (14-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz (21-28 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in (25-30 cm)

Downy Woodpeckers do not migrate and can be spotted in most states and provinces, except the north of Canada.

You can find Downy woodpeckers in woodlots, along streams, city parks, and backyards, and they eat mainly insects and beetle larvae but also berries, acorns, and grains.

Downy Woodpecker Call:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC601009. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/601009.

Attract Downy Woodpeckers to your backyard with their favorite treat of suet, but they will also eat black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts on platform feeders.

31. Western Tanager

western tanager
Male
Female Western Tanager
Female

Western Tanagers are spotted in New Mexico during the breeding season from mid-March to November. They are recorded in 15% of summer checklists.

Western Tanagers have a flaming orange-red head, yellow body, and black wings. Females have only red faces, and their bodies are yellow-green.

  • Piranga ludoviciana
  • Length: 6.3-7.5 in (16-19 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8-1.3 oz (24-36 g)

Western Tanagers breed in western US states and western Canada. They can be seen during migration in the east and south of this range. Winter is spent in Mexico and Central America.

You can find Western Tanagers in open conifer forests, but they stay hidden in the canopy, despite their bright coloring. Their numbers are actually increasing in the last forty years.

They eat mainly insects in summer, such as wasps and grasshoppers, and in the fall and winter, they also eat fruit.

Western Tanager Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC678811. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/678811.

Attract Western Tanagers with dried fruit, cut oranges, and other fruits from bird feeders.

32. Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadees are residents of New Mexico all year and are mostly found in the north of the state. They appear in around 5% of summer and winter checklists.

The Black-capped Chickadee is a cute bird with a big round head and tiny body. These birds will happily feed at backyard feeders and investigate everything, including you! 

They have black caps and beaks, white cheeks, and are gray on the back, wings, and tail.

  • Poecile atricapillus
  • Length: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (9-14 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-8.3 in (16-21 cm)

Black-capped Chickadees do not migrate and can be spotted in the northern half of the US and Canada.

You can find them in forests, open woods, and parks. Black-capped Chickadees eat seeds, berries and insects, spiders, and suet.

Black-capped Chickadee Call/Song:

Credit: Matt Wistrand, XC554222. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/554222.

Attract Black-capped Chickadees to your backyard with suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts or peanut butter. They will even feed from your hand and are often one of the first birds to discover new feeders. They will also use nest boxes, especially if you fill them with wood shavings.

33. American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch for identification

American Goldfinches are mainly spotted in eastern New Mexico during winter, but some stay all year. They appear in 2% of summer checklists and 8% of winter checklists.

American Goldfinches are popular birds with the males’ bright yellow and black coloring in spring. The females are duller brown, as are males in winter.

  • Spinus tristis
  • Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz (11-20 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)

American Goldfinches can be found in most of North America and are usually resident all year. However, those that breed in Canada and the Midwest migrate to southern US States for winter.

They can be found in weedy fields and overgrown areas foraging for sunflower, thistle, and aster plants. They are also common in suburbs, parks, and backyards.

American Goldfinch Song:

Attract American Goldfinches to your backyard by planting thistles and milkweed. They will visit most bird feeders and prefer sunflower seed and nyjer seed. 

Common Birds at Different Times of Year in New Mexico

The birds that are attracted to backyards in New Mexico change throughout the year.  The lists below show the backyard birds that are most commonly seen at different times of the year in New Mexico.

Notable differences show that Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Mourning Doves, Lesser Goldfinch, and Western Kingbirds are more common in summer, and Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned Sparrow, and Northern Flickers are more common in winter.

Common birds in New Mexico all year

House Finch 46%
Dark-eyed Junco 38%
American Robin 30%
Mourning Dove 29%
White-winged Dove 26%
Northern Flicker 25%
Spotted Towhee 24%
White-crowned Sparrow 22%
Lesser Goldfinch 22%
House Sparrow 21%

Summer birds New Mexico

House Finch 41%
Mourning Dove 38%
Black-chinned Hummingbird 33%
American Robin 30%
Lesser Goldfinch 28%
Spotted Towhee 28%
White-winged Dove 23%
Western Kingbird 22%
Barn Swallow 22%
House Sparrow 20%

Winter birds New Mexico

Dark-eyed Junco 75%
House Finch 46%
White-crowned Sparrow 34%
Northern Flicker 32%
American Crow 28%
American Robin 28%
White-winged Dove 25%
Spotted Towhee 23%
House Sparrow 22%
White-breasted Nuthatch 17%

Best Bird Feeders to Attract Birds in New Mexico

A variety of different bird feeders will attract the most species of birds

  1.  Tube Feeders can be filled with different types of birdseed, and depending on the seed, different birds will be attracted. Black oil sunflower seeds attract Goldfinches, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, and Pine Siskins.
  2. Ground Feeders or a tray below a Tube Feeder with Black oil sunflowers tube feeders attract Cardinals, Jays, Finches, and Sparrows.
  3. Platform feeders with Millet or Corn attract small and medium-sized birds such as sparrows, Blackbirds, Towhees, Juncos, Doves, Grackles, and Starlings.
  4. Peanut feeders attract Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice, Jays, Juncos, Finches, and Sparrows.
  5. Suet Feeders are great, especially in winter, for Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Nuthatches, Kinglets, Wrens, and Chickadees.
  6. Hummingbird feeders attract these tiny, fascinating birds, but they also attract other birds.

How to Attract Birds to Your Yard in New Mexico

If you would like to attract more birds to your yard in New Mexico, here are some tips:

  1. Provide bird feeders for different types of birds to get the most species to visit your yard.
  2. Provide a water feature such as a birdbath fountain or stream.  Ensure that the water is clean and not stagnant
  3.  Grow native plants that will provide food and shelter. Plants, trees, and shrubs provide fruit, berries, and nuts. Blackberries, wild grasses, elderberries, serviceberries, Oaks, Beeches, Cherries, sumacs, hemlocks, Purple Coneflowers, Sunflowers, Milkweed, Cardinal Flowers, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Virginia Creeper, Buttonbush, and Dogwoods.
  4. Let your grass grow long to provide cover and seeds.
  5. Leave a brush pile to provide food, protection, and nesting opportunities for birds.
  6. Don’t use pesticides and herbicides as these may be toxic to birds and prevent the natural foraging opportunities for insects and seeds that birds will seek in your yard.
  7. Set up nest boxes to attract breeding birds and ensure they are cleaned every year.

How to Identify Birds in New Mexico

Here are some tips to help you identify birds:

  1. Size – Size is the easiest thing to notice about a bird.  Birds are often measured in inches or centimeters in guide books.  It’s best to take a note of the bird in terms of small, medium, or large to be able to look for it later. A small bird is about the size of a sparrow, a medium bird is about the size of a pigeon, and a large bird is the size of a goose.
  2. Shape – Take note of the silhouette of the bird and jot it down or draw the outline.  Look at tail length, bill shape, wing shape, and overall body shape.
  3. Color pattern – Take a note of the main color of the head, back, belly, wings, and tail for the main color and then any secondary colors or patterns. Also, take note of any patterns such as banding, spots, or highlights.
  4. Behavior – Are they on the ground or high up in the trees. Are they in flocks or on their own?  Can you spot what they are eating?
  5. Habitat – Woodlands, parks, shrubs, grasslands or meadows, shore or marsh.
  6. Use a bird identification app such as those created by ebird or Audubon

Birds to Spot if Out Birding in New Mexico

If you go out Birding in New Mexico, these are other birds that you may be able to spot. Also, check out all the hawks in New Mexico.

  1. Red-tailed Hawk
  2. Canada Goose
  3. Turkey Vulture
  4. American Kestrel
  5. Mallard
  6. Killdeer
  7. Curve-billed Thrasher
  8. Cooper’s Hawk
  9. Great Blue Heron
  10. Sandhill Crane
  11. Northern Shoveler
  12. Greater Roadrunner
  13. Gambel’s Quail
  14. Northern Harrier
  15. Ash-throated Flycatcher
  16. Violet-green Swallow
  17. Western Tanager
  18. Pied-billed Grebe
  19. Bald Eagle
  20. Black-necked Stilt
  21. American Avocet
  22. Golden Eagle
  23. Wild Turkey
  24. Pyrrhuloxia
  25. American White Pelican
  26. Osprey
  27. White-faced Ibis
  28. Long-eared Owl
  29. Rough-legged Hawk
  30. Ferruginous Hawk