American Birding Podcast



#ABArare – Tamaulipas Crows – Texas

Tamaulipas Crow is one of the more enigmatic species ABA checklist. The small, glossy corvid is the only crow in its range, which until 30 or so years ago extended into southern Texas before dropping precipitously to the point where they could no longer be found even at the Brownsville, Texas, city dump where they had been seen for years. Until this year, apparently.

A number of birders have reported finding Tamaulipas Crows at at least 3 sites in south Texas in the last week, beginning with the singularly bizarre discovery of one 42 miles asea from a boat out of Port Aransas. Since then multiple birds were seen on South Padre Island, and later on Port Isabel Road, both in Cameron county.

The glossy blue plumage and long tail are good field marks for the strange Tamaulipas Crow, now being found in south Texas for the first time in nearly 10 years. Photo: Shawneen Finnegan/Macaulay Library

Tamaulipas Crow is a northeast Mexico near-endemic that first arrived in the United States in 1968. For almost two decades they were very common to locally common in the Brownsville area. Their numbers would peak in winter but some pairs would stay through the nesting season and even breed. After 2000, Tamaulipas Crow was very rare and there have been no records in the ABA Area since 2010 before this spate of sightings.