Stilts in flight

Over 220 species of birds regularly visit the refuge.  

Canvasback DrakeProviding nesting habitat for migratory birds is the primary purpose of the Refuge.  Waterfowl are the most conspicuous, with their colorful breeding plumage and aerial courtship displays. Canvasback, Mallard, and Lesser Scaup ducks, among other waterfowl species, reproduce here.  The South Marsh provides some of the best nesting habitat west of the Mississippi River for Canvasbacks.  The once endangered Trumpeter Swan, originally transplanted between 1947 and 1958 from Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana, is also found at Ruby Lake.  Several pairs nest and raise young each year and 40 or more birds may winter here, joined by hundreds of Tundra Swans. 

Black-crowned Night HeronIn all, 15 species of waterfowl nest on this refuge as well as a variety of other water-dependent birds such as coots, grebes, sandhill cranes, Great Blue Herons, Black-crowned Night Herons, White-faced Ibis, Black-necked Stilts, avocets, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Common Yellowthroats, and Marsh Wrens.  Long-billed Curlew nest in the meadows along with Gadwall ducks and Cinnamon Teal.  Sage Grouse nest in the sagebrush shrub steppe and forage in meadows and grasslands where Burrowing Owls raise their young in abandoned badger dens.


 Yellow WarblerBald Eagles, Golden Eagles, American Kestrels, Red-tailed Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Harriers, and Prairie Falcons are present at various times of the year. Numerous songbirds including Yellow Warblers and Bullock’s Orioles use the willows bordering the Collection Ditch and riparian habitat near refuge headquarters along Cave Creek.  Several first occurrence records for Nevada have been documented here including a record sighting of a White Wagtail in 2011.   

Learn more about some of the birds found at Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge: 
Greater Sage Grouse 
Greater Sandhill Cranes 
Trumpeter Swans (coming soon)
Canvasback Ducks