Insects are the most abundant types of animals, and ants are especially common, for example there are several kinds of harvester ants (feed primarily on seeds), leaf cutter ants (grow fungus gardens underground), and army ants (raid opportunistic food sources). Grasshoppers, beetles, cicadas, butterflies, and true bugs are common with each species being abundant according to its particular life cycle. Spiders and centipedes are common.

More conspicuous animals such as vertebrates include 15 mammals, 55 birds, 43 reptiles, and 8 amphibians. Diurnal mammals (Black-tailed Jack Rabbit, Desert Cottontail, Harris’ Antelope Squirrel) are the most conspicuous but nocturnal or crepuscular species (Collared Peccary or Javelina, Kit & Gray Foxes, Bobcat, Mule Deer and Badger) are common. However, the most spectacular is the Bighorn Sheep. Once widespread in southern Arizona, these sheep reach their eastern-most AZ natural distribution in IFNM. Commonly observed birds include Gila Woodpecker, Roadrunner, Cactus Wren, Mourning Dove, Pyrrhuloxia, Gambel’s Quail, Red-tailed Hawk, and Turkey Vulture, but many other birds are easily recognized by experienced bird watchers. Reptiles include five species of rattlesnakes, Gila Monster, Desert Tortoise, and an assortment of lizards (Tiger Whiptail and Zebra-tailed lizard most frequently seen). The large Colorado River Toad may be seen during the monsoon season.

Birds of the Ironwood Forest National Monument

Birds of the Ironwood Forest National Monument

The Ironwood Forest National Monument (IFNM) is home to a wide array of flora and fauna.  If you’re a bird watcher you will want to view this guide (click here).  It includes photos and details about the types of birds you will see in the IFNM.