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Rare tropical bird species spotted for the 3rd time ever in the US, Texas officials say

Birdwatchers are flocking to a Texas state park to get their eyes on a rare tropical bird making its first known appearance in the Lone Star State.

Texas State Parks posted a photo Monday, Nov. 27, on X, formerly Twitter, of a gray-collared becard spotted at Resaca de la Palma State Park in Brownsville.

It marks just the third sighting of the bird in the United States. The first one was spotted in 2009 in Cave Creek Canyon in southeastern Arizona.

The gray-collared becard was also spotted in the U.S. in May 2023, but it’s unclear where.

“Birders from far and wide flocked to Resaca de la Palma State Park to share the experience,” Texas State Parks said on X.

At least 284 bird species can be found in Resaca de la Palma State Park, which is about 5 miles north of the Mexico border.

Mexico is among the countries the gray-collared becard is most likely to be seen, according to the American Birding Association. They’re also native to El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala, officials said.

“Males sport a black cap and a black back, interrupted by a pale gray nape that merges with gray underparts,” birding blog South Dakota Birds and Birding said. “Females share similar black and white wing patterns but have a rich brownish back and crown, with a dark eye-stripe.”

It’s one of two becards that have been identified in North America. The other is the rose-throated becard, which are often seen in Texas, before returning to their native habitat in Mexico, according to Birds of North America.

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