Bird Info

Tropical Parula /parula tropical (Parula pitiayumi)

Voice: Insect-like buzzing sounds that rise in pitch. Song is similar to Northern Parula.

Tropical Parula
Status: Locally uncommon summer resident along a short stretch of Rio Grande corridor from about Santa Ana NWR to Bentsen SP. Probably easiest to find during the spring/summer season when males are singing. Fairly rare and local in winter from the Brownsville area west to Bentsen SP. In winter, Tropical Parulas are almost always associated with mixed-species flocks (Black-crested Titmouse, Blue-headed Vireo, Orange-crowned Warblers, etc…). Just north of the Valley, Tropical Parula is a locally common summer resident in Kenedy County (Kenedy, King, and Armstrong Ranches).

Habitat: Summer habitat includes tall moss-draped cedar elm and hackberry trees of the Rio Grande corridor. Winter birds may also be found in urban environs, where Texas ebony and other large native trees are found. North of the Valley, breeding habitat consists of live oak woodlands.

Best Spots: In all seasons to be looked for at Bentsen SP’s inner loop, Santa Ana NWR’s “Old Manager’s Residence,” also known as Willow 1, and Anzalduas County Park.

Similar Species: Tropical Parula is very similar to Northern Parula (migrant and uncommon to rare winter resident), but can be distinguished by the careful observation of the following features: Tropical Parula has black face which usually lacks eye crescents (although a low percentage of individuals may show narrow eye crescents), a wider yellow throat, and yellow underparts that extend further down to the lower belly. Females show virtually no orange in underparts, and neither male nor female shows a dark breastband.

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All Bird call recordings © John C. Arvin.
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Welcome to a birder’s eye view of the seasons in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Enjoy our annual cycle! The resulting avifauna in deep South Texas is the most diverse north of the Mexican border. The four county area that makes up the lower Rio Grande Valley has recorded over 500 species of birds. This is more species of birds than have been recorded in all but two or three entire states. Small wonder that birders from across the continent make pilgrimages to the region. Happy Birding!

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