“To Serve, by promoting Conservation of  Soil, Water, Wildlife and other Natural Resources.”
Common Wildlife Species in the Whitewater Draw
Natural Resource Conservation District
The Whitewater Draw Natural Resource Conservation District is interested in all wildlife species and their management within the District.  
Within the District, the NRCD works with agencies to assess the cumulative effect of wildlife management
 in its habitat and how it relates to natural resources in wildlife management.
Mule Deer
Long mule-type ears are constantly alert to sounds.
Deer is yellowish to reddish but dark gray in winter, undersides of legs, abdomen and tail are somewhat white, tail is short and tipped with black. It has a sturdy neck and wide face.  The Mule Deer is active both day and night.
Preferred Habitat:  pinon-juniper and oak woodlands although found all over Arizona.  Summer habitat is foothills and mountains; winter ranges extend to grasslands.  One deer can eat more than 300 acorns a day in autumn.
Males can weigh up to 400 lbs; antlers are forked.
Lifespan- average only 3.5 years.  Offspring: usually twins in midsummer.
Whitetail Deer
Reddish brown, turns greyer in winter.  Large triangular tail is whiteon the underside.  The deer waves or “flags” the tail when running away from danger. Whitetail eat twigs, grasses, fungi, apples and acorns.
Offspring: usually twins in early to late summer.
Whitetails are great swimmers, can run 35 mph, jump 8' and leap 30' in one bound. Preferred habitat is mountain ranges.
 Whitetail are smaller than mule deer.
 Stag antlers don’t fork but can have five to six points.
This wild pig is almost 2' tall by 3' long.  Javelina can weigh up to 60 lbs.hey have coarse black and gray hair, short legs, pig-like snout and sharp hooves.
Perferred Habitat: Found all throughout Arizona.
The javelina is an herbivore and eats mesquite beans, forbs, prickly pears, agaves and variety of plant materials.
Herds can number as many as 40 javelinas.
The Whitewater Draw NRCD thanks the following  government agencies and organizations for the use of  photographs (top to bottom): United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW); United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); USFW; USFW; USFW; USFW; Wikipedia; Arizona Game and Fish Department AZGF; USFW; USFW; USFW; United States Geological Survey (USGS); USGS; USGS; USGS; USFW; Wikipedia/USGS and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.  
Mountain Lion
Also called cougar or puma.  Mountain Lions can weigh up to 100 lbs.
Their coat is yellowish brown or gray with a long tail tipped in black.  The backs of the ears and side of the face are dark brown.  Cubs have spots.
Prefered Habitat is caves on hill or mountainsides. Eats deer, hares, rodents, racoons, javelina and other prey, including livestock.
Solitary.  Active at night.  Secretive.  Territorial radius can extend 30 miles.
Smaller than a large dog, weighs between 15 to 30 lbs.
The coyote has a variegated coat  in shades of gray to light brown with a bushy tail tipped with black. Its senses of smell, hearing and sight are acute. It is very cunning and curious. Preferred Habitat: all of Arizona. Coyotes use dens only during births of pups, April to May.  The average litter size is 4-5 pups. They live in family groups and can hunt in groups or alone. Coyotes are omnivorous, eating birds and small mammals, especially rabbits and other rodents.  Will eat small livestock.  Also eats mesquite beans, seeds and vegetation.  Its food does not have to be fresh and it eats road kill. Family members call to others at dawn and dusk and to signal to join in a hunt.
The Blacktailed Jackrabbit is gray with a short black tail and black-tipped ears.  It weighs up to 8 lbs.   The Antelope Jackrabbit is larger with tan back, white sides and white ear tips.  Males generally move ears in opposite directions while listening, females are more cautious and crouch when moving in open.  Very long, very strong back legs allow them to jump up to 15 feet and run in bursts up to 35 miles per hour.
Preferred Habitat:  mesquite grasslands.  Jackrabbits are herbivores and eat mesquite leaves and beans and cacti. During the heat of the day  they rest in depressions.  They don’t dig burrows.  Jackrabbits need very little water as they obtain most from forages. Four litters a year produce one to four offspring each.  They are active early morning and early evening and often graze in large groups on summer evenings.
Western Box Turtle
 The Western Box Turtle averages four to six inches in length.  It has a hinged shell with a high dome, dark brown or black in color.  The color fades with age to a  light brown or green.  They are omnivorous and eat desert grasses, vegetation, insects, berries and decaying matter.  They scratch in cow manure for beetles.
The Western Box Turtle digs shallow burrows or occupies kangaroo and bannertail rat mounds to avoid high daytime temperatures.  They hibernate in winter.
Chiricahua Leopard Frog
This is a medium-size narrow frog, 2-5.5" long.  Named for its home range in the Chiricahua Mountains.  The skin is greenish to brownish on back, lighter yellow on abdomen.  Light colored spots, bars or blotches on their legs and mottled gray markings on their throats and chests give their skin a leopard-like appearance.  
Preferred Habitat: permanent and intermittent streams, ponds, stock tanks, irrigation ditches. They like mountain streams with deep pools but are also found on grasslands.
They are insectivores.  The Chiricahua Leopard Frog can breed year-round but its numbers are decreasing.  Tadpoles are large.  Active day and night. Call: a decreasing “snoring” sound lasting 1-2 seconds.  Generally jumps into water to escape capture.
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
This is aggressive rattler is responsible for most snake bite incidents in Arizona.  The young (4-12) are born live from August to October.  This snake feeds on rodents, small mammals and amphibians.  In higher elevations large numbers will den together during the winter.  It will also den in mammal burrows and crevices in rocks.   This is a large, thick snake with black bands of equal length near tail.  The length is between three to seven feet.  The snake sheds up to five times a year and rattles often break off after seven are formed so the number of rattles doesn ’t determine the age of the rattler.  This snake can live up to 26 years. It has a diamond pattern in brown and gray, tan or pink and a triangular pit viper head.   It hunts primarily at night using infrared senses and can sense heat of creature a foot away.  It also can use its tongue to “smell”.  It will coil and rattle when confronting danger. Generally very aggressive and the bite can be fatal.   All rattlesnakes will strike if disturbed.  All rattlesnake bites need to receive immediate emergency treatment.
Blacktailed Rattlesnake
Th young are born live in mid-summer, averaging three to sixteen per birthing, each a foot long. This snake can live over 15 years.  It prefers a mountain habitat and will climb into lower branches of trees and shrubs to sun or prey on birds, small mammals and lizards.  The main food is rodent.   It often occupies a rodent burrow during the day to avoid high temperatures.  Not always aggressive and doesn’t always rattle a warning before striking.  However, ALL  rattlesnakes will strike if disturbed.  All rattlesnake bites need to receive immediate emergency treatment.
Sandhill Crane
Three species winter in Arizona: the Greater Sandhill (4'); Lesser Sandhill (3') and Canadian Sandhill (almost as tall as the Greater).  The wingspan is 6-7 feet.
The Sandhill Crane is ash gray with a long neck and legs and a bustle on its rear.It has a red forehead.  Sandhill Cranes don’t nest here but winter in southeastern Arizona from October through February, many at the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area off North Central Highway, McNeal (in the Whitewater Draw NRCD), and  also in the Willcox Playa. Generally they feed in the morning then fly to a “loafing” or night roosting area. Sometimes they also feed in the afternoon. They are omnivorous, eat dried grains in fields and amphibians, worms, small rodents and birds. When they migrate, up to 100 fly at night in V pattern.  Their nesting and winter sites can be as far as 2,500 miles apart.  They communicate with flock members through a distinctive call.
ashthroated flycatcher.jpg
Southeastern Arizona has many insect-eating Flycatchers,  the most common being the Ash-Throated, the Brown-Crested and the Vermilion Flycatchers.   They are hard to distinguish with the naked eye and are usually identified by their individual calls or songs.
Flycatchers have flat bills that allow them to catch insects in flight.  They can also take insects from leaves.  Besides insects they eat small lizards, fruit and berries.  
TheAsh-Throated Flycatcher  (top photo) has a slightly bushy brown head, light gray throat, very pale yellow abdomen, olive-brown back and rust colored tail feathers.  It prefers open woodland, mesquite and desert scrub, pinyon-juniper and oak groves. It builds a grass, hair, twig and weed cup-like nest in cavities or holes, often using a mail box or bluebird nesting box.  Its eggs are pink-white.
The Brown-Crested Flycatcher is larger with a longer bill.  It is similar in color to the Ash-Throated.  It prefers saguaros and cottonwood groves and will build a grass, hair, twig and weed cup-like nest in cactus.  
Its eggs are a blotched off white color.
The male Vermilion Flycatcher has a black mask, brilliant red  head and underparts.  Females have a streaky white breast, brownish head and pink or salmon-colored  belly.  Immature females have a yellow breast.  Preferred Habitat is along water, ranch lands, grasslands with scrub trees. Nests in fork of mesquite, willow or cottonwood.  It has cream-colored eggs, spotted.  As with other desert birds, it often holds soft nest materials together with spider webs.
Ferruginous Hawk
This is a large hawk, approximately 2' high, with narrow wings that span 57".  It is rufous brown and black above, whitish below.  Patches of rufous feathers are on its wrists and legs.  The primary feathers are black-tipped.  Female hawks are larger than male hawks.  Hawks soar using lift obtained from thermals.  They circle,  searching for prey below with the aid of  very keen eyesight.  Preferred Habitat:  open grasslands, scrub and brush.  The nest is made of large items such as sticks, brush, cow dung, even bones and roots.  While the nest is usually in tree, it can be in brush or on ground.  The eggs are speckled white, averaging four to a clutch. It eats rodents, Jerusalem crickets, birds, prairie dogs and ground squirrels.
Gambel’s Quail
This large ground-dwelling bird is 10-11.5" tall.  Its back is slate gray ith an off-white to yellow abdomen.  The male has black patch on its  abdomen.  Both sexes have black, forward curved head plumes.  The male has a rust spot on back of its head.  Gambel’s Quail usually travel in coveys of twenty or more.  Preferred Habitat: mesquite/desert scrub, thorn thickets and waterways. They prefer to be near a water source.  They are active early morning and early evening.  During the day, they roost in bushes and low dense scrub.  The nest is a shallow depression scratched into ground, lined with plant matter.  The ten to twelve eggs, buff-colored with dark markings, are shaded by cactus pads. Their primary food is seeds but they also eat cacti and insects to obtain water if they can ’t  find surface water sources.
Actually this bird is a cuckoo.  It stands almost 2 feet high and can run 15 miles per hour. The coloration is streaky dark brown/ iridescent green and lighter brown/white.  The wing has white crescent on edge. Roadrunners have a long tail, thick beak and tall crest.  They have a turquoise and coral patch behind their eyes.  Preferred Habitat:  pinon/juniper, open desert scrub, chaparral and brushy areas. The nest is built of twigs in cholla cactus, mesquite or Palo Verde trees.  The eggs are white.  Eggs are laid at different times so young hatch at different intervals.  The roadrunner is a carnivore and eats  lizards, snakes, rodents, scorpions, insects and other species’ nestlings, especially those of the Gambel’s Quail.
Mourning Dove
Large bird, 11-13".  Light brown-gray above, gray-buff color below.  Light blue eye ring.  Wings darker blue-gray with black spots on inside edge.  They have a faint iridescent neck patch and long tail feathers.
Lives almost everywhere, deserts, grasslands and around dwellings.  The nest is carelessly compiled of twigs, set on a limb, bush branch, hanging flower pot or on ground.  Two white eggs to a clutch.  Primary food: seeds, also fruit.  They use gizzards to grind  food.