Facts about the animal kingdom

Types of Mexican Birds That Migrate

Nick A. Romero
By Nick A. Romero, Biologist and environmental educator. Updated: July 9, 2024
Types of Mexican Birds That Migrate

Mexico is considered one of the most megadiverse countries in the world in terms of biodiversity. This means that the flora and fauna of Mexico includes a vast number of species, a great range of ecosystems and high levels of endemic species. One reason for this is its size, being larger than any individual European county and about four times the size of France. Its climate also plays a very important part since they range from desert and temperate climates to tropical and highland climates. The migratory birds of Mexico may travel to and from different countries, but many can migrate within Mexico itself due to this climate and ecosystem diversity.

At AnimalWised, we discover 20 types of Mexican birds that migrate. We look at why the birds of Mexico migrate, as well as fun facts and photos of these different migratory birds of Mexico.

You may also be interested in: 20+ Incredible Animals that Migrate and Why
  1. Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)
  2. Broad-tailed hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus)
  3. American yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia)
  4. Redhead (Aythya Americana)
  5. American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
  6. Belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)
  7. Yellow-rumped warbler (Setophaga coronata)
  8. Pied-billed (Podilymbus podiceps)
  9. Rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)
  10. Black-and-white warbler (Mniotilta varia)
  11. Other migratory Mexican birds
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Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)

The first of our migratory birds of Mexico is the barn swallow (Hirundo rustica), a type of swallow native to America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Oceania. This means it has a very wide distribution, even outside of Mexico. In fact, they are believed to have the largest natural distribution of any type of passerine bird. They develop in open fields, towns and cities, but generally predominate in rural spaces when in North America.

The barn swallow usually breeds from May to August in Mexico, doing so in the north of the country. With the arrival of winter, it makes migrations to the south where the climate is warmer. This makes it an example of a Mexican bird that migrates within the country. They are culturally very important, with swallow tattoos first gaining popularity with sailors as they represented a safe return home. In this way, they are the preeminent migratory bird.

Types of Mexican Birds That Migrate - Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Broad-tailed hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus)

The broad-tailed hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus) is a medium-sized hummingbird species native to the United States, Mexico and Guatemala. This example of migratory birds from Mexico develops in different types of forests, often near bodies of water. The photo below shows this Mexican hummingbird in mid flight.

In general, it is a bird that reproduces towards the north and makes migrations during the winter to southern Mexico. They also extend their migration to Guatemala, returning to the breeding sites in the spring. Not all broad-tailed hummingbirds migrate this far, with some either exhibiting partial migration or not migrating at all. This is due to various factors such as food availability and an ability to adapt to various climates.

Types of Mexican Birds That Migrate - Broad-tailed hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus)

American yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia)

The American yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia) is a subspecies of the yellow warbler and another migrant bird from Mexico. Its beautiful and bright yellow plumage can be seen in the photo below. It is well distributed throughout North and Central America, as well as some areas of South America, developing in forests, riparian areas, shrublands, fields, pasture areas and suburban areas.

The reason for the common name of this Mexican bird that migrates is due to their distinctive birdsong. The breeding sites occur in North America, but for the winter it moves south. They pass from southern California to countries such as Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia or Ecuador. In Mexico, they mainly breed in the Gulf of Mexico coastlines.

Types of Mexican Birds That Migrate - American yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia)

Redhead (Aythya Americana)

The (Aythya Americana) redhead is a type of duck species which is also a type of migratory Mexican bird. Their distribution during breeding season is in a relatively wide range of North America with some as far north as Alaska and Canada. When the winter approaches, they fly south and migrate to Mexico and other southern regions of southern North America.

Regardless of the time of year, they live in wetlands such as lakes, freshwater marshes and ponds. They are somewhat sexually dimorphic animals with males being slightly larger than females. Its name is derived from the red plumage on their head as seen in the photo.

Types of Mexican Birds That Migrate - Redhead (Aythya Americana)

American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

The American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) is another of the birds that migrate to Mexico that develops throughout North America, breeding in many inland areas of Canada and the United States. For the winter it migrates to southern California, the coast and eastern Mexico, as well as areas of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.

There are some small groups that remain permanently in Mexico. The migratory pelicans in Mexico spend winters in coastal areas, estuaries or rivers with significant flow. For reproduction, they also look for aquatic areas for their nests. They are one of the largest types of migratory Mexican birds with a wingspan that can measure up to 9 ft (2.7 m).

Pelicans are known for their distinctive bill which is used to catch fish. Learn about other types of birds with long beaks.

Types of Mexican Birds That Migrate - American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

Belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)

The belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) breeds in much of North America and part of Greenland, nesting near bodies of water or coastal areas. It is a winter migratory bird in Mexico, usually staying around southern North America and Central America. On rare occasions, it can migrate as far as South America. It is known for having a distinctive shaggy crest on its head as depicted in the photo below. Unlike many birds with sexual dimorphism, females tend to have a more colorful plumage than males.

Types of Mexican Birds That Migrate - Belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)

Yellow-rumped warbler (Setophaga coronata)

The yellow-rumped warbler (Setophaga coronata) is also on our list of migratory birds of Mexico. It has a wide distribution in Canada, the United States, the Pacific coast, Atlantic and Central America. It reproduces in the northernmost areas, exclusively in coniferous or mixed forests.

Before the arrival of winter, these Mexican migratory birds move to the south of the region. They can go further to Central America and parts of the Caribbean. During this season, they move into more open areas with scattered vegetation. They are known to stock up on food to build fat before migrating. This gives them the resources necessary to carry out such a long voyage.

Types of Mexican Birds That Migrate - Yellow-rumped warbler (Setophaga coronata)

Pied-billed (Podilymbus podiceps)

The Pied-billed (Podilymbus podiceps) breeds in Canada, Alaska and other parts of the United States. It can also breed in some areas of the Caribbean, rarely even further south in Argentina and Chile. Groups of these migratory birds in Mexico nest in the extreme north, then migrate south. This species thrives in bodies of water such as lakes. They can also be found in freshwater or moderately saltwater ponds that do not freeze.

Discover more types of water birds which live in and around bodies of water.

Types of Mexican Birds That Migrate - Pied-billed (Podilymbus podiceps)

Rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)

Another type of hummingbird that migrates to Mexico is the rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus). They breed in Canada and the northeastern United States, doing so in various types of habitats such as successional forests, mature forests, parks and residential areas. In the winter it migrates to much of Mexico, southern California or the Gulf of Mexico.

During the winter season it uses other types of habitats, such as scrublands, thorny or mixed forests. This beautiful hummingbird is unfortunately classified as ‘Near Threatened’, believed to be due to decline insect populations which make up the majority of their diet during the winter season. In summer, climate change means the flowers on which they feed bloom before they arrive for migration.

Types of Mexican Birds That Migrate - Rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)

Black-and-white warbler (Mniotilta varia)

The black-and-white warbler (Mniotilta varia) is a bird that breeds in deciduous or coniferous forests in Canada and the United States. For the winter, it migrates to Florida, Mexico, the Bahamas and even northern South America. Its migratory habitat includes cloud, evergreen and deciduous forests, as well as gardens or even plantations such as coffee plantations (generally at high altitudes).

Warblers often feed on fruit to sustain them, the reason why they go to habitats such as coffee plantations. Learn more about types of frugivorous animals, i.e. those that eat fruit to survive.

Types of Mexican Birds That Migrate - Black-and-white warbler (Mniotilta varia)

Other migratory Mexican birds

We have learned of some of the most common migratory birds which travel to, from and within Mexico to carry out their various behaviors. Here are 12 more Mexican birds that migrate (you can see photos of these Mexican birds below):

  • Northern shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
  • Cinnamon teal (Spatula cyanoptera)
  • Hammond's flycatcher (Empidonax hammondii)
  • Blue-winged teal (Spatula discors)
  • Golden-cheeked warbler (Setophaga chrysoparia)
  • Lucifer hummingbird (Calothorax lucifer)
  • Pectoral sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)
  • Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
  • Eastern kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)
  • Hooded warbler (Setophaga citrina)
  • Snow goose (Anser caerulescens)
  • Canada goose (Branta canadensis)

Now we know more about these 20 migratory Mexican birds, you may want to know more about the animals of Mexico. You can do so with our article on the 12 Mexican animals in danger of extinction.

If you want to read similar articles to Types of Mexican Birds That Migrate, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

  • Animal Diversity Web. (2020). https://animaldiversity.org/
  • Berlanga, H., & Rodríguez, V. (n.d.). Migratory birds to wall tests. https://www.biodiversidad.gob.mx/media/1/ciencia-ciudadana/documentos/naturalia_aves.pdf
  • IUCN. (2024). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2023-1.

Types of Mexican Birds That Migrate photos

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Types of Mexican Birds That Migrate