Veracruz: River of Raptors Runs Through It


I recently returned from my near annual pilgrimage to Veracruz, Mexico, to see the fall hawk migration at the biggest hawk migration site in the world.

The area on the Gulf Coast of Mexico near Veracruz City has become well known in recent years for its astounding hawk migration, a phenomenon that has become known as the “Veracruz River of Raptors.”

In a typical year, millions of raptors are counted at the two counting sites just outside of Veracruz City, with the top species being Turkey Vulture, Swainson’s Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, and Mississippi Kite. In fact, if you are lucky, you can see hundreds of thousands of individual birds pass by in a single day–its hard to top that!

Although the hawk migration is worth a trip to Veracruz in and of itself, the area immediately surrounding Veracruz City has much to offer the visiting naturalist, which is another reason I keep going back:

Perhaps the best thing about visiting Veracruz on a tour, however, is that by doing this, you can support the excellent conservation efforts of the conservation group Pronatura Veracruz. In addition to running tours to see the River of Raptors and other great birding areas in the State of Veracruz, Pronatura has implemented a series of excellent conservation projects for wetlands and forests and is responsible for the hawk counting efforts. By taking a tour, you not only get your fill of hawks and other birds, but you directly support conservation efforts in this critically important migratory crossroads of the Americas. Maybe I’ll see you there next year!

(Image: Buteo Magniurostris — Roadside Hawk — taken in in Paso de San Juan, Veracruz-Llava, Mexico. Credit: Reaper Stinky/Flickr through a Creative Commons license.)

If you believe in the work we’re doing, please lend a hand.


  1. Anyone interested in migration should read Scott Weidensaul’s superb account of bird migration: “Living on the Wind”. It is a beautifully written account – a Pulitzer Prize nomination – and has a chapter devoted to the migration of raptors over Veracruz.

  2. thanks TimB, it’s now on my wishlist 🙂

  3. Man… I have no words for this… I feel very honored because you choose my photo to illustrate your post. 😀 it’s kind of a dream.

    I found this just googling my nickname and look, wow… 😀 i really have no words.

    I’ll track this blog!

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