Thursday, May 15, 2014

Verdin at Anza-Borrego

Verdin
Verdin. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, near Borrego Springs, California. April 27, 2014. Greg Gillson.
This member of the titmouse family is found in the mesquite deserts of the SW United States (California to Texas) and the northern half of Mexico. It is fairly common and has rather loud sharp "chip" calls, so is rather easy to locate. It behaves as other members of the family: chickadees, titmouses, and bushtits, traveling in family groups from tree to tree, hanging from the tips of branches, actively gleaning insects.

Verdin
The yellow head and chestnut shoulder is distinctive.
When I was a beginning birder, I was temporarily confused by Bushtits with yellow heads. Read about it here.

Juvenile Verdins lack the yellow head, as the following photos show. Even so, they really shouldn't confuse. The only similar species would be Gray Vireo or maybe Plumbeous Vireo, but sluggish vireos have heavier hooked bills, not little pointed ones like these birds.

Juvenile Verdin


Juvenile Verdin
Juvenile Verdin. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, near Borrego Springs, California. April 27, 2014. Greg Gillson.