Bird Guide

Initially this guide displays common birds of all types that are flying right now in our area. Use the selectors below to view rare birds, view birds flying any time, restrict the output to a certain shape of bird, or search by name.

New Mexico is on the western edge of the Central Flyway which is one of the major migration pathways between north and south for birds traveling between breeding and wintering grounds along the Rocky Mountains. This has resulted in the state having an incredible diversity of birds with over 550 different species reported. A little more than half of this number are sighted annually on the Pajarito Plateau. Some of these birds are full-time residents, some migrate here for a few weeks or months, and other are only seen briefly as they pass through the region.

This guide features many of the birds known to frequent Los Alamos county by when they are likely to be seen in the area. You can get additional information on local birds by joining PEEC Birders or going to the eBird website. eBird also includes lists of rare bird sightings and birding hot spots.

Bird References

Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Institute for Bird Populations
National Audubon Society
New Mexico Ornithology Society
What Bird

Subject Area Experts (all guides)

Steve Cary (butterflies)
Beth Cortright (insects)
Terry Foxx (invasive plants)
Leslie Hansen (mammals)
Richard Hansen (fish, mammals)
Dorothy Hoard (butterflies, trees)
Chick Keller (flowers, herbarium)
Shari Kelley (geology)
Kirt Kempter (geology)
Garth Tietjen (reptiles)
David Yeamans (birds)

Web Development and Content Management

Pat Bacha
Jennifer Macke
Graham Mark
Akkana Peck


Please contact us for local nature questions and sightings. We welcome comments, corrections, and additions to our guides.

For more information about local nature, please visit our Nature Blog or subscribe to PEEC This Week.

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Showing 1 of 176 birds.

Photo: male by J.N. Stuart


Photo: female by Mouser Williams


Photo: immature by Jakob Fahr

Common Goldeneye

COGO (Bucephala clangula)

Family: Anatidae (Ducks and Geese)
Size: 16 - 20 in (41 - 51 cm)
Flies: Nov 17 - Mar 07
Morphology: medium-sized duck that has a large head, small, narrow bill, and a large white patch in the wings that shows during flight; males are mostly black and white with a round spot near a black bill and bright yellow eyes; females have brown heads, gray backs and wings, and yellow eyes; immatures are similar to females except for dark eyes

Status: native; locally common
Food source: eats crustaceans, small fish, aquatic insects, and some plant material; diet varies with seasons

Habitat: wooded lakes,ponds
Typical location: Rio Grande

Common Goldeneyes are robust diving ducks that mostly forage underwater and are capable of diving to depths of 20 feet (6 meters). These birds are often seen in flocks and, when feeding, all of the birds in one area may dive at the same time. Pairs usually form in late winter. Females often return year-after-year to the site where they hatched. Nests are typically in tree cavities high above the ground. Young leave the nest a day or two after hatching and are led to water by the female. They can fed themselves immediately but are unable to fly until about 2 months old.

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