Dates and Cost

August 14-17, 2018 (NOTE the date change from August 13-16)
$1250 per person ($220 single supplement)


About This Trip

This short but very special trip into the states of Sonora and Chihuahua is offered mainly to see the target species of the highly endemic Thick-billed Parrot and Eared Quetzal. It would be a great combination tour for anyone birding the ‘second spring’ of southeastern Arizona or simply to see some spectacular birds! Although they won’t count in the ABA area, this trip does give you the opportunity to see some very sought-after species relatively easily in a short period of time.

The old growth forests of the northern Sierra Madre Mountains of Chihuahua are the nesting grounds for the Thick-billed Parrot. This wonderful bird is often very difficult to find throughout most of its range; however, in the area near Madera, these birds can be found in high numbers during the breeding months of August and September. Thick-billed Parrots only nest at elevations over 8,000 feet and require a very specialized habitat of dead old growth trees that they utilize for their nest cavities, many of which were excavated decades ago by the now extinct Imperial Woodpecker. Unfortunately, much of this habitat has already fallen to the chainsaw, isolating the birds into only a few known areas, and their numbers have diminished to what is estimated to be 3,000-5,000 individuals. The parrots are quite approachable during this time of year, which should make for excellent photographic opportunities.

Although our main targets on this trip are the Parrots, there is a lot more to be seen. The forests around Madera hold many other interesting birds, including Eared Quetzal, Pine Flycatcher, Spotted Wren, and Aztec, Slate-throated Redstart, Rufous-capped Brush-finch, Black-headed Siskin, Mountain Trogon, Russet Nightingale-thrush, Flame-colored Tanager, Striped Sparrow, spotted Wren, Brown-backed Solitaire, Gray-silky Flycatcher and Montezuma Quail.

We meet in Tucson and head for the border and spend the night in Casas Grandes, birding along the way once we cross into Mexico. We make our way to Madera, where we have a day and a half to bird the key spots in the area, as well as the Thick-billed Parrot Reserve. We return to Tucson the following day, taking our time to stop a couple times to break up the trip.

This trip starts and ends in Tucson.


To book your trip or for more information, please contact us by email or call 888-383-0062.