Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chihuahuan Raven

Chihuahuan Raven
Two days ago, while counting a line of Turkey Vultures migrating over Cardel, Veracruz (Mexico), my co-counter Irving excitedly called out a "cuervo!" or raven, something we don't see every day here. The line was more or less overhead and not terribly high, so it was easy to pick out the bird's different shape and snap a few pictures of it.

Chihuahuan Raven migrating with Turkey Vultures
It clearly looked like a raven, but appeared a little smaller and subtly differently proportioned than the familiar Common Raven. The tail was rounder, not as wedge-shaped as in Common Raven, and the head projection was smaller.

Thus we determined it to be a Chihuahuan Raven, a lifer for me, and evidently a short-distance migrant that more commonly winters north of here.

Chihuahuan Raven range map courtesy of
In fact, once our sighting has been processed by eBird, it will likely be the southernmost record in their dataset.

same range map, zoomed in, courtesy of
The current southernmost records in their dataset are from western Mexico. On the east coast, eBird has not had any records further south than Poza Rica, Veracruz - about 150 km north of here. So really not that far north, then. 

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