Upper Texas Coast

The Upper Texas Coast

As a biogeographic region, the Upper Texas Coast (UTC) is generally comprised of Galveston, Harris, Chambers, Brazoria, Jefferson, Fort Bend and Waller counties. The diverse habitat within this area has made it a well-known birding hotspot, and it remains one of the most active birdwatching locations in North America. Neotropical migrants flying over the Yucatan Peninsula arrive in mass in the months of April and May. Wintering shorebirds collect here by the thousands from November to March. There are no fewer than eight well-established Christmas Counts, and large tracts of land have been put aside by conservation organizations for the sole purpose of birding. Because of it's history, the UTC has documented nearly 500 species in just these seven counties.

Column 1. The first column is the most current accepted species list from eBird coupled with others sources. I have chosen to leave out the dozen or so exotics found in and around the Houston area from the currently accepted species list. A few other birds, like Greater Flamingo, were not counted because of questions of provenance. I have continued to rely on the Texas Bird Records Committee as the standard for a naturally occurring species.

I have also left off most extinct species like Ivory-billed Woodpecker and Passenger Pigeon. However, I left Eskimo Curlew on the list since the UTC had the last known observation of this bird in 1962. I also left Greater Prairie Chicken on the list since this species still had existing habitat here as late as the 1960s, and continues to have a naturally occurring population in adjoining Colorado County, which is home to the Attwater Prairie Chicken Refuge.

Column 2. - The third column is an annotated list from the publication "Birdlife of Houston, Galveston, and Upper Texas Coast" by Eubanks, Behrstock, and Weeks (2006). This book is remarkable in it's documentation, and only a few species were added from that publication date to the current date. Any species not marked in this list wasn't observed until after 2006.

Column 3. The second column is the "Checklist of the Birds of the Upper Texas Coast" from 1962, compiled and edited by Stephen G. Williams. This is a well-documented booklet on the birds of this area., and perhaps one of the first checklists to deal with this area as a biogeographic area.

At the bottom of the page are printable checklists in a PDF format.