PYRRHULOXIA (pie-rue-lox-ia) is a bird that looks as if its throat has been cut and the result is spread over its head, face, belly, legs, and tail. It is a species found in the thorny brush and mesquite lands of our south-west. This bird will feed in low shrubbery or along the ground where they can utilize the shadows. If you are well hidden, you can get quite close. It is sometimes confused with the female Cardinal but its short, thick, curved beak is diagnostic. A beak that allows them to utilize hard shelled food items.
PYRRHULOXIAS are eight and three-quarter inches long with a soft gray and red coloration scheme that makes a very pleasing contrast. Their song is a liquid whistle.
Since first seeing this species, it took on a high priority on our photography “must list”. During winter months, when we have been in the southern climes, we have worked to lure it to our hastily put up feeding stations. This specimen was in Catalina State Park – north of Tucson, Arizona.
If you visit Arizona or other surrounding states, look for this species. Seeing one will brighten your day!
The photo is of one feeding on black sunflower seeds scattered on the ground.