Tommy J. DeBardeleben

Phoenix Zoo

Fast Flight Facts

Target Species:  Wintering waterfowl and passerine migrants

Elevation: 1230'

Habitat:  Zoo with large ponds and good habitats throughout the property including good and natural riparian habitat

Overall Birding Rating: 3

Difficulty: 1 (Easy)

Birding Type: Easy Hiking

Facilities:  Parking, restrooms, gift shop, food, rides

Fees/Ownership:  $18 dollar entrance fee/Phoenix Zoo

Closest Town or City/How far from Phoenix:  Phoenix/ 7 miles east northeast of Phoenix

Getting there:  Easily reached from Galvin Parkway

Overview:  The Phoenix Zoo creates an excellent habitat for both migrating and wintering birds in the greater Phoenix area.  The zoo probably dosen't strike one's mind as an excellent "birding" spot at first, but the many ponds and exhibits with excellent habitats attract large numbers of wintering waterfowl and migrants in the spring and fall.  The trails, paths and exhibits in the zoo have native habitat throughout the entire place (some excellent riparian habitat).  While looking in an animal's exhibit, you never know what wild bird might show up in the trees and plantings.  The ponds at the zoo are always worth birding for wintering waterfowl, where a nice variety of ducks and other waterbirds are commonly observed.  Besides birding in the Phoenix Zoo, the zoo is also a great place to see many exotic birds throughout the world in the exhibits, an excellent way to learn about different birds outside of North America.  Buying a membership and birding this zoo on a regular basis will result in good birding opportunities.

Birding Tip:  The Phoenix Zoo should be visited by birders during the migration time periods as well as for wintering waterfowl.  Good habitat for migrants is found throughout the entire zoo.  If you have the money, then definitely make a visit during spring and fall migration several times.  The downside is the $18 dollar entrance fee. 

Directions:  The Desert Botanical Gardens, Papago Park, and the Phoenix Zoo are all located in very close range of each other.  They can all be reached from Galvin Parkway (which shortly south becomes Priest Drive).  Galvin Parkway is bordered by McDowell Road on the north, E Van Buren Street/Mill Avenue on the south, as well as roads nearby such as 48th and 52nd streets on the west and Scottsdale and Hayden Roads on the east.  McDowell Road is the best way to access these three spots.  These locations are also easy to reach from both the Loop 101 (Pima Freeway) and Loop 202 (Red Mountain Freeway) Freeways.  From the Loop 101, take the McDowell Road exit.  Head west for 3.2 miles on McDowell, and then turn south on Galvin Parkway.  Once on Galvin Parkway, head south for one mile to the Phoenix Zoo and Papago Park turnoff.  Parking for Papago Park is all along this stretch.  Because the zoo is so close to Papago Park, one could easily walk to the park from the zoo parking lot.  From the Loop 202, take the Van Buren Street exit.  Head east on Van Buren (which shortly turns into Mill Avenue) for 0.7 miles to Galvin Parkway.  Head north on Galvin Parkway for a very short distance to the turnoff to Papago Park and the Zoo on the east side of the road. 


Phoenix Zoo Maps

Phoenix Zoo eBird Data


Scenes and Sights from the Phoenix Zoo:


Birdlife of the Phoenix Zoo:

Wild birds in the zoo...

Wood Duck

The caged exotics provide birders enjoyable looks at birds around the world!

Keel-billed Toucan

Yellow-billed Stork

White-faced Whistling-Duck

Magpie Robin

East African Crowned Crane

Von der Decken's Hornbill

Andean Condor

Green Wood Hoepoe


Back to Area 5-South Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe

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