Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

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Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Map showing the location of Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
Map showing the location of Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
Map of Texas
Location Hidalgo County, Texas, United States
Nearest city Alamo, Texas
Coordinates 26°4′59″N 98°8′6″W / 26.08306°N 98.13500°W / 26.08306; -98.13500Coordinates: 26°4′59″N 98°8′6″W / 26.08306°N 98.13500°W / 26.08306; -98.13500
Area 2,088 acres (845 ha)
Established 1943
Governing body U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Website Santa Ana National Wildlife Service
Designated 1966

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is a 2,088-acre (8.45 km2) National Wildlife Refuge situated along the banks of the Rio Grande, south of Alamo in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, in Hidalgo County, South Texas.

The nature refuge was established for the protection of migratory birds in 1943. Its unique location is at the meeting of different climates and habitats: subtropical wetlands, Chihuahuan Desert, Gulf Coast, and Great Plains. Its riparian location has developed a reputation for diverse birding.


Spanish moss in the refuge

Notable species include the Texas ocelot (Leopardus pardalis albescens) and Gulf Coast jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi cacomitli) feline species. These species, while not considered endangered by the IUCN, are rare for the area. Both species are listed as endangered in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as Amended. The jaguarundi is listed as on CITES Appendix II, and the ocelot is listed in CITES Appendix I.


Common gallinule (middle) and blue-winged teal in the refuge

397 bird species have been documented within the parks borders. Many of those are migratory species on their way to and from Central and South America.

A few species to be found here are black-bellied and fulvous whistling duck, mottled duck, blue-winged, green-winged, and cinnamon teal, least grebe, anhinga, tricolored heron, American white ibis, lesser yellowlegs, long-billed dowitcher and least tern.

Osprey, broad-winged hawk, northern harrier and peregrine falcon are among the migratory birds of prey found in the park. Hook-billed kite and grey hawk, seen occasionally on the refuge, attract birders from around the world.

Over 35 species of spring New World warbler have been seen and include the golden-winged warbler, magnolia warbler, northern and tropical parula, American redstart, palm warbler and yellow-breasted chat.


Not to be outdone by its reputation as a birding paradise, Santa Ana is also home to almost half of all butterfly species found in the United States; over 300 species have been seen at the park. As many as 65 have been seen on a single day.

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