American Birding Podcast



#ABArare – RED WARBLER – Arizona

On April 9, 2018, Janet Moore and Janet Stein discovered a potential ABA Area 1st record in a Red Warbler at Rose Canyon Lake, Pima County, Arizona, near Tucson. The bird was refound at the same location later that day by Dave Stejskal, Mark Stevenson, and Molly Pollock.

Rose Canyon Lake is 17 miles northeast of Tucson, off the Catalina Highway Scenic Drive near the summit of Mt. Lemmon. Birders report that it is frequenting a grove of willow and alder bordering a small stream just to the south of the amphitheater at Rose Canyon Campground. The bird has reportedly been silent.

Red Warbler is an endemic of Mexican highlands north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The species consists of three distinct and disjunct subspecies, differentiated from one another by range and plumage, especially the ear patch which can be either gray or white. This individual is reportedly of the gray-cheeked subspecies, melanauris, the farthest north population found from Nayarit to southern Chihuahua.

Pending acceptance, this is a first record for Arizona and the ABA Area. There is a report of Red Warbler collected in Texas in the 19th Century, but this account is not generally considered valid.