Beak of the Week – Great Crested Flycatcher

Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) Family: Tyrannidae The Great Crested Flycatcher is a large perching bird in the large and diverse family of tyrant flycatchers. This bird is distinguished by its bright yellow belly and under-tail coverts (bottom of tail), dull white throat and namesake head crest. Although not extremely inconspicuous the Great Crested Flycatcher […]

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Beak of the Week – Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret (Bulbulcus ibis) Family: Ardeidae The stout white Cattle Egret is most often seen in fields rather than shallow water with other herons and egrets. It prefers to follow grazing cattle (hence the name) as well as tractors and mowers, snatching up small lizards and insects that scatter after the disturbance. The Cattle Egret […]

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Beak of the Week – Eastern Meadowlark

Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) Family: Icteridae The Eastern Meadowlark’s bright song is a familiar sound throughout open grasslands of eastern North America. They are commonly seen singing from fence posts, telephone wires, and shrubs. Eastern Meadowlarks can easily be identified by their brilliant yellow chests and dark v-shaped collar. These colors are slightly duller in the […]

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Beak of the Week – Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) Family: Troglodytidae Our Beak of the Week is a favorite Houston resident, the Carolina Wren! Male and female Carolina Wrens look alike; both are reddish-brown above and warm buffy-orange below, with a long, slightly downcurved bill, a bold white eyebrow stripe, a rusty cheek, white throat, and a relatively long tail.  […]

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Beak of the Week – Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) Family: Ardeidae Our Beak of the Week is the official Bird of Houston, the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron! This seemingly hunch-backed bird can be a difficult one to spot. Both species of North American night-herons, yellow-crowned and black-crowned, forage mainly at night and spend most of the day hidden among branches near a […]

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Beak of the Week – Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) Family: Trochilidae Did you know that Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are able to fly in all 6 directions with wing beats of 53 times per a second? Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are bright emerald or golden-green on the back and crown with gray-white underparts. Males have a brilliant iridescent red throat while females and immatures […]

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Beak of the Week – Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica) Family: Parulidae The Chestnut-sided Warbler migrates through eastern Texas in spring and the boldly patterned male never fails to dazzle onlookers with his bright yellow crown, black line through his eye, black mustache stripe, white breast, and chestnut streaked flanks. The female has a similar pattern but is duller with a greener […]

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Beak of the Week – Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) Family: Bombycillidae Flocks of Cedar Waxwings are welcome winter visitors to the Houston suburbs where they feast primarily on berries. The Cedar Waxwing is one of the few North American birds that specializes in eating fruit; their digestive system is especially adapted to rapidly digest berries and they can survive on […]

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Beak of the Week – Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia) Family: Parulidae As migration in High Island continues, birders are seeing increasingly more mid and late-season migrants. Among them is our Beak of the Week, the striking Magnolia Warbler. Unlike Pine Warblers, Magnolia Warblers do not forage and nest predominantly in their namesake tree. Rather, the first Magnolia Warbler was collected […]

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Beak of the Week – Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) Family: Cardinalidae Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are stocky, medium-sized songbirds with very large conical bills. The breeding plumage of adult males is striking; they have a black hood and back, a bright red chevron that extends from the black throat down the middle of the breast, and the underparts and rump are white. […]

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