San Mateo Rocks, located on the western coast of the United States, is a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. The unique location, situated on the Pacific Flyway, makes it an ideal spot for both resident and migratory birds to rest and feed during their long journeys.
From the rocky shores to the lush forests, San Mateo Rocks is home to a diverse collection of bird species, including seabirds, shorebirds, raptors, and songbirds.
With such a variety of habitats to explore, birdwatchers can witness a wide range of fascinating avian behavior within this beautiful coastal region.
In this article, we will explore the fascinating birdlife that calls San Mateo Rocks home.
1. Golden eagle
The Golden Eagle is an iconic bird of prey found throughout the northern hemisphere. It is a large, powerful raptor with dark brown feathers and lighter golden-brown plumage on its nape.
Immature eagles have white patches around their beaks, tails and wings which they lose as they mature.
Its diet consists mostly of small mammals such as rabbits, hares and marmots but can also include birds or reptiles depending on where it lives.
These majestic creatures are known for their remarkable strength in flight; using thermal updrafts to soar high into the sky searching for food or simply enjoying the view below them.
They are often seen soaring alone over open expanses looking out for potential threats from other predators like wolves or foxes that may encroach upon their territory.Scientific classification:
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2. California quail
The California quail is a small, ground-dwelling bird with an iconic drooping crest. Male birds have a dark brown cap and black face while females sport a brown back and white streaks on their flanks.
These quails are found in the western United States and parts of northern Mexico and may gather in groups to feed or dust bathe together during the day.
Their diet consists mainly of grasses, seeds, berries as well as some insects like beetles or ants.
The population has been declining due to habitat loss so conservation efforts are being implemented for this species’ survival.Scientific classification:
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3. Wild turkey
Wild turkeys are large birds native to North America, and the heaviest members of the Galliformes order.
They have long reddish-yellow legs with grayish-green feathers which distinguish them from their domesticated cousin.
Their population has been steadily increasing due to conservation efforts since being declared endangered in 1975.
Wild turkeys can be found across forests, meadows and open woodlands where they feed on insects, plant materials and small animals such as lizards or frogs.
As opportunistic omnivores they also take advantage of human food sources when available making them a familiar sight around campgrounds and picnic areas during summer months.
These majestic creatures often roost in trees at night for protection against predators but will fly off into flocks if disturbed by humans or other nearby threats .Scientific classification:
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4. Acorn woodpecker
The Acorn woodpecker is a medium-sized bird with an average weight of 85 grams and 8.3 inches in length. It was first described by the English naturalist William John Swainson from a specimen collected in Mexico, back in 1827.
Its scientific name, Melanerpes formicivorus, combines Latin words meaning "ant" and "-vorous".
This species has distinct black plumage all over its body except for some white patches on their wings and tail feathers which can be seen when flying or perched atop trees.
They are known to store acorns inside tree crevices as well as within bark cracks - often using them during lean times.
The acorn woodpecker is also socially active; they live together with other birds of their kind in groups called 'granaries'. Their chirps are loud enough that they can easily be heard from afar.Scientific classification:
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5. American coot
The American coot is a bird of the Rallidae family, commonly mistaken for ducks. However, they are only distantly related and have broad lobed scales on their lower legs and toes that fold back with each step to help them walk on dry land unlike ducks which have webbed feet.
Coots are omnivores who typically live in freshwater marshes, ponds and lakes but can also be found in brackish water habitats or even open oceans during migration season.
They feed mainly on algae and aquatic plants as well as small fish, snails, insects larvae and worms from time to time.
The males display territorial behaviour by chasing away intruders within their territory while females lay eggs mostly.
In floating nests made of vegetation near shorelines or islands among reeds where chicks hatch after about three weeks incubation period before swimming off into adulthood shortly afterwards at 10-12 weeks old.Scientific classification:
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6. Yellow-rumped warbler
The Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) is a migratory bird species that can be found throughout North America.
It has an extensive range, from the Pacific and Atlantic coats of the US to Canada and Central America, with a concentration in northern areas during breeding season.
These birds migrate southwards for wintering grounds where they find plentiful food sources such as insects and berries.
They are easily identified by their yellow patches on either side of their tails, along with white underparts, gray back feathers and two distinct crown stripes.
One black or greyish-brown above the eyes extending towards its neck banded in yellow or light brown colouration.
Furthermore, these warblers have strong legs which allow them to cling onto branches while hunting for prey making them adept at maneuvering through tree cover quickly.
All together this makes the Yellow-rumped Warbler an attractive backyard visitor year round.Scientific classification:
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The Killdeer bird is a large plover found in the Americas. It has an unmistakable call which gives it its name, and boasts striking upperparts of brown with rufous fringes.
Its head features patches of white and black, while two distinctive bands adorn its neck - one black above, and one chestnut below.
The undersides are mostly white or pale buff-brown; their wings feature bright orange stripes when they take flight.
During breeding season males perform elaborate courtship rituals to attract females into establishing a pair bond; they also defend territories fiercely against other birds that encroach on them during this time.
In winter months some killdeers migrate southwards but many stay put throughout the cold weather too.
All in all these beautiful creatures provide us with quite a sight indeed.Scientific classification:
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The Sanderling is a small wading bird that can be found in the Arctic region. Its name comes from Old English, meaning "sand-ploughman". It has grey feathers and light legs which give it its distinct white coloration.
During summer breeding months, they are known to travel great distances - some wintering as far south as South America or Southern Africa. They typically feed on crustaceans such as shrimp and mollusks along coastal shores.
The Sanderling is an important species to watch out for because of their long migratory patterns and sensitivity to environmental change; if there's trouble with this species then other birds may also be affected.Scientific classification:
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9. Green heron
The Green Heron (Butorides virescens) is a small heron found throughout North and Central America.
It's scientific name comes from Middle English ‘butor’ meaning bittern, combined with the Latin term for its distinctive greenish color - 'virescens'.
For many years it was considered to be part of the same species as the Striated Heron (Butorides striata), commonly referred to as "green-backed herons".
The nominate subspecies inhabits wetlands across much of this range, where they can be spotted stalking about in shallow water looking for fish or frogs on which to feed.
They are fascinating wading birds that have even been known to use tools such as sticks or baited lines when fishing.Scientific classification:
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10. Turkey vulture
The turkey vulture is a large bird of prey that can be found in many parts of the world. It has a wingspan of up to 6 feet and its feathers are mostly black with brownish-red patches on the underside which give it an overall dark red appearance.
Its head is bald, which helps protect it from getting overheated when flying long distances looking for food.
The Turkey Vulture usually feeds off carrion but will also feed on fruit and insects.
Its keen eyesight allows them to spot potential meals from miles away while they soar through the sky using their broad wings and thermal air currents to stay aloft without expending much energy.
They are very important scavengers as they keep ecosystems healthy by consuming dead animals before disease can spread amongst living creatures or contaminate local water sources like rivers or lakesScientific classification:
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11. Great blue heron
The Great Blue Heron is a majestic wading bird found in many parts of North America, Central America, the Caribbean and even as far away as the Galapagos Islands.
It has an impressive wingspan which can reach up to six feet wide. Its feathers are mainly bluish-gray with brownish streaks on both its neck and chest while its head displays white plumes.
The adult herons can also be identified by their yellow bill and legs.
They live near bodies of water such as lakes, marshes or rivers where they feed on fish using a spear like motion with their sharp bills.
An all-white population exists only in south Florida and the Florida Keys making it quite unique.Scientific classification:
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12. Red-tailed hawk
The Red-tailed Hawk is a majestic bird of prey with its distinctive red tail. It can be found throughout North America, from Alaska in the north to Panama and the West Indies in the south.
This species belongs to Buteo genus, which makes it one of most common raptors on earth.
These hawks mainly hunt small mammals such as rabbits or squirrels but also feed on reptiles and birds during migration season.
Unlike other predator birds, they prefer open areas for hunting like fields or grasslands rather than dense forests.
They build their nests high up on trees where they stay all year long unless disturbed by humans or animals nearby.
Their presence has become an iconic part of American culture due to their frequent sightings around homes and parks alike making them beloved creatures among people everywhere.Scientific classification:
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13. Snowy egret
The Snowy Egret is a small white heron native to North America. Its scientific name, Egretta thula, comes from Provençal French for the little egret and an incorrect reference to the Black-necked Swan by Chilean naturalist Juan Ignacio Molina in 1782.
This beautiful bird has black legs with yellow feet, and a long plume of feathers on its head that often appears as if it's wearing a crown.
It feeds primarily on insects and aquatic life like fish or frogs making it well adapted for both wetland habitats such as marshes or swamps plus coastal areas close to shorelines.
With their graceful movements they are truly delightful creatures to observe while out exploring nature.Scientific classification:
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14. Spotted sandpiper
The Spotted sandpiper (Actitis macularius) is a small shorebird that can be found across North America and parts of South America.
It has an appealing spotted plumage, predominately brown in colour with white spots on the wings, tail feathers, head and neck.
The Common Sandpiper (A. hypoleucos) is its sister species which takes over geographically when the other moves away; they have been known to hybridize as well when strays settle down among breeders.
This bird was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1766 in his twelfth edition of Systema Naturae as a migratory summer visitor to Europe but it now also occupies many habitats too like beaches, riversides and even grasslands during migration periods or for breeding season itself.
Its diet consists mainly of insects such as air-borne flies plus molluscs from shallow water areas - this makes them quite unique amongst waders.Scientific classification:
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15. Black phoebe
The black phoebe is a beautiful passerine bird belonging to the tyrant-flycatcher family. It breeds from southwest Oregon and California south through Central and South America, where it can be found year-round.
However, its northern populations tend to migrate seasonally in some areas. Six subspecies of this species have been identified so far: two are occasional visitors while the others are more common residents in their range.
The adult has mainly dark grey upperparts with a white belly; juveniles may show brownish tones instead of grey ones on their back.
Its main diet consists of insects which it catches by hovering over water or flying out after them from perches near rivers or streams - hence why they're often seen around these places.Scientific classification:
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16. Double-crested cormorant
The double-crested cormorant is a majestic bird with an impressive wingspan, found across North America from the Aleutian Islands all the way down to Mexico.
Its black plumage stands out against its bright orange-yellow facial skin and some extended patches of white feathers on each side of its throat.
It measures between 28 - 35 inches in length and has webbed feet that enable it to swim gracefully through rivers and lakes, as well as coastal areas.
These birds are known for their voracious appetite for fish, sometimes diving over 100 ft deep into water looking for food.
Despite this reputation they also feed on crustaceans, amphibians and insects when available.
Cormorants have been part of many cultures throughout history due to their remarkable ability to fly long distances making them valued messengers or companions during fishing expeditions at sea.Scientific classification:
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17. Golden-crowned sparrow
The golden-crowned sparrow is a large New World bird found in the western part of North America. It belongs to the genus Zonotrichia, made up of five species and has no subspecies.
This bird is closely related to the white-crowned sparrow as studies show their mitochondrial DNA evolves at a similar rate.
The most recognizable feature on this beautiful creature are its distinctive yellow stripes near its forehead that appear almost like an orange crown when seen from afar.
Its plumage can range from grey browns in winter months, to dull yellows and oranges during breeding season which typically occurs between April and July.
These birds are often seen foraging through leaf litter or along grassy fields looking for seeds, insects and berries to eat while they sing sweet melodies throughout their habitat.Scientific classification:
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The Willet is a large and robust bird of the Scolopacidae family. It belongs to genus Tringa and it is much larger than its closest relative - lesser yellowlegs, which can be easily distinguished by its fine neck pattern.
The willet has brown upperparts with white patches on wings along with grey underparts. Its bill is thick, long and straight in shape having black coloration at tip while legs are also long but greenish-grey in colour.
They feed mainly on insects, worms or crustaceans that they find near coastal waters or wetlands as well as grains or seeds when available during winters.Scientific classification:
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19. Brewer's blackbird
Brewer's blackbird is a medium-sized New World bird that can be easily identified by its glossy, iridescent purple head and neck.
The body of the male has bluish-green highlights while females have brownish-grey plumage with slight hints of the male’s iridescence.
Both sexes possess bright yellow eyes, black feet and legs, and dark wings. Brewer's blackbirds are commonly found in open grasslands or shrubland habitats.
They prefer to eat insects but will also feed on grains such as wheat or corn if available during winter months when insect populations decline.
These birds often form large flocks which provide protection from predators like hawks or owls looking for an easy meal.Scientific classification:
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20. Short-billed dowitcher
The Short-billed Dowitcher is a medium sized bird belonging to the family Scolopacidae. It has a stocky body and long bill, making it easy to identify in its habitat of North America, Central America, Caribbean and northern South America.
Its strong migratory nature takes them away from their breeding grounds during winter months when snow covers these areas.
This species prefers varied habitats like mudflats and estuaries where they can feed on worms or other invertebrates found there with ease due to their long bills.
During summer they are often seen gathering around wetlands in large flocks which provide protection against predators while also providing an opportunity for breeding activities among them.Scientific classification:
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21. Northern flicker
The Northern flicker is a woodpecker species found in North America, Central America, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands. This medium-sized bird is known for its unique migration behavior.
Over 100 common names are used to refer to the Northern flicker, one of them being "yellowhammer". It is a beautiful bird with distinctive markings and a colorful plumage.
The Northern flicker is an important species in its ecosystem and plays a key role in maintaining a healthy balance in the environment.
Despite being a woodpecker, the Northern flicker has a diverse diet that includes insects, fruits, and seeds.
It is fascinating to observe this bird as it pecks at trees in search of food, communicates with its unique vocalizations and performs its incredible aerial displays.
The Northern flicker is truly a remarkable bird species that is worthy of our admiration and protection.Scientific classification:
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22. Red-shouldered hawk
The red-shouldered hawk, also known as Buteo lineatus, is a medium-sized bird of prey found in eastern North America and along the coast of California and northern to northeastern-central Mexico.
While many of these hawks are permanent residents within their range, northern populations do migrate, with most traveling to central Mexico.
The species faces numerous threats to its survival, with deforestation being a primary issue.
Despite the many challenges they face, these birds are an important part of their ecosystems, primarily feeding on rodents, small mammals, and amphibians.
In addition to their hunting capabilities, these hawks are known for their striking appearance, featuring reddish brown shoulder feathers and bold black and white striped wings.
Overall, the red-shouldered hawk is a fascinating and important bird that plays a vital role in its surroundings.Scientific classification:
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23. Least sandpiper
The Least Sandpiper is a shorebird that holds the title for being the smallest of its kind. Its Ancient Greek genus name, kalidris or skalidris, referred to grey-colored waterside birds.
The breed's brown feathers with dark brown streaks, white underside, greenish legs, and short, thin, dark bill characterize adult Least Sandpipers.
The Medieval Latin name of the species, minutilla, further describes the breed's tiny size.
These birds are known to inhabit shallow water marshes and mudflats during the summertime, and they migrate to coasts during the winters.
Least Sandpipers mainly feed on insects and small crustaceans, often by running and pecking in shallow water or mud.
Despite their small size, these birds travel great distances during migration, making impressive journeys from their breeding and wintering grounds.Scientific classification:
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24. Western sandpiper
The Western sandpiper is a small shorebird found in North America. Its genus name, Kalidris, comes from the Ancient Greek term used by Aristotle for some grey-colored waterside birds.
The species name, mauri, is named after Italian botanist Ernesto Mauri. This species is one of the most abundant shorebirds in North America, with a population in the millions. Western sandpipers have dark legs and a short, straight bill.
They are often seen running quickly along the shorelines, probing the sand for insects and small crustaceans.
During breeding season, they nest in the Arctic tundra, and during migration, they can be found on mudflats and beaches along the Pacific Coast as well as inland shallow freshwater wetlands.Scientific classification:
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