Since I live only about 2 miles from Michael Perry Park I have started counting birds there on a regular basis. Last month Chris Rohrer joined me in the afternoon and we walked through the park and along the Pantano Wash counting birds. In the nearby desert scrub we found three pairs of Black-tailed Gnatcatchers. Here in Arizona it is possible to see three species of gnatcatcher: the Blue-gray, the Black-tailed and the very rare Black-capped. I have seen 2 of the three species. It is the rare Black-capped that I am missing.
It can be quite difficult to tell the three species apart, and getting a glimpse of the underside of the tail certainly helps. Black-tailed Gnatcatchers have a mostly black under-tail feathers. The Blue-gray’s under-tail is mostly white.
All three species have a white eye-ring, but from what I understand, the Blue-gray inhabits more riparian or treed habitats and is often solitary. The Black-tailed likes desert scrub and usually travels in pairs. The Black-capped is a rare visitor from Mexico, though a few breeding pairs have been observed just over the border. They all have different voices, which I am still trying to learn.
But who is this screaming at us? Come back tomorrow to find out!