A Birding and Cultural Oasis
You may know the town of Álamos, located in southern Sonora, for its rich cultural history. Once an important regional mining center, tourists from around the world now come to enjoy the colonial-period architecture and spectacular bird life. The nearby Sierra de Álamos-Río Cuchujaqui Natural Protected Area provides habitat to more than 265 species of birds that breed, winter, and migrate through the foothills, creeks, box canyons, and riparian habitats.
Álamos is a transition zone between the Sonoran Desert to the north and tropical regions to the south, making it an amazing location to see a great diversity of birds, including many of the northwest Mexican endemics. Birds that are possible here include Lilac-crowned Parrot, Military Macaw, Mangrove Cuckoo, Elegant Trogon, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Thick-billed Kingbird, Solitary Eagle, Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Purplish-backed Jay, Blue Mockingbird, Black-throated Magpie Jay, Russet-crowned Motmot, Elegant Quail, Rufous-bellied Chachalaca, and Five-striped Sparrow, among many others. It is also a fabulous spot for butterflies, mammals, and other flora and fauna.
The Natural Protected Area, which is the only tropical deciduous forest reserve in the state of Sonora, is an Important Bird Area in Mexico, a Sonoran Joint Venture Focus Area, and was recently included in the UNESCO network of Biosphere Reserves.
Habitat: Tropical deciduous forest, riparian habitat with large guamuchil, cottonwood, fig, and sabino trees, willows, and other dense vegetation along arroyos.
Best Season to Visit: Year-round
Amenities: There are few amenities at this birding site, visitors should be prepared with ample food and water for the day.
Hire A Local Guide
Alamos – contact Jennifer MacKay, Director, Reserva Monte Mojino and Owner, Solipaso, phone: 001-52-647-487-1600; 011-52-647-428-1509; 1-888-383-0062 (tollfree from the USA), email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Solipaso – Local guides who were trained as part of the SJV Bird Guide Program are on staff
- High Lonesome Bird Tours
Protection and restoration efforts are underway to secure the long-term conservation of biodiversity of the region. Partners are working to exclude cattle ranching from sensitive habitats, including riparian corridors that serve as wildlife linkages, connecting pine-oak habitat with subtropical and tropical dry forests.
The Pronatura Noroeste Alamos office worked with the Natural Protected Area (NPA) to assess individual properties adjacent to the NPA for potential consideration to register a private land conservation certificate. They also developed an evaluation for additional areas within the NPA for consideration as land purchases for conservation based on their ecological value, and reviewed other locations that may remain private holdings, but with a conservation easement agreement to support their long-term protection. In an effort to improve understanding not only of bird populations of the area, but also the role of tropical deciduous forest in providing ecosystem services, Pronatura has conducted monitoring in the region, using birds as an indicator of forest health.
Pronatura and Nature and Culture International worked together closely to secure a conservation easement for over 1900 acres of critical tropical deciduous and pine-oak forest. This conservation easement lies within the 14,000 acre Reserva Monte Mojino (ReMM), managed by Nature and Culture International, in collaboration with the Mexican non-profit, Naturaleza y Cultura Sierra Madre, A.C. Reserva Monte Mojino lies within the bigger Area de Proteccion de Flora y Fauna Sierra de Alamos-Rio Cuchujaqui, overseen by CONANP. ReMM’s focus is on the conservation of land high in biodiversity and the upper Rio Cuchujaqui watershed. Additionally, ReMM supports scientific research and small scale eco-tourism.