Texas Birds That Nest on the Ground

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Ground-dwelling birds are bird species who spend the majority of their life on the ground, as opposed to living in trees or flying. Many of these birds lay their nest on the ground underneath shrubbery or piles of leaves. The typical season for birds to build their nests and lay their eggs is during the winter, in between migration periods. Some ground-nesters are also wetland birds who build their nests close to the water.

American Black Duck

  • The American black duck is found in freshwater lakes and rivers in Texas' northern and eastern regions. This duck breeds from March to May and builds its nest within one foot of a lake or stream. American black duck nests are made from mud, grass and sticks near or at the bottom of the nearest body of water. Once the nest is complete, these ducks lay up to 17 eggs. The incubation process lasts for up to 29 days before the first chick hatches.

Eastern Brown Pelican

  • Found off the Gulf of Mexico, the eastern brown pelican is a bird that lives in a saltwater environment. When its nesting period arrives, these birds find beaches on the islands off of Texas' mainland; eastern brown pelicans choose these islands to prevent predators from eating their eggs. Eastern brown pelicans' nesting periods are usually late winter or early spring. The eastern brown pelican's nest is made from nearby sticks and grass. This bird lays two to four eggs each year; the incubation period is almost one month.

Long-billed Thrasher

  • Long-billed thrashers are only found in South Texas, since its distribution ranges from southern Mexico to the Texas' Rio Grande Valley. These ground-dwelling birds set up their nests in underneath brushes to hide their eggs from birds of prey or mammal predators -- coyotes and foxes. The nesting period happens during the winter and the female thrasher lays approximately two to five eggs. A long-billed thrasher's nest is made from sticks and grass.

Great Roadrunner

  • One of Texas' ground-dwelling birds is the great roadrunner, which are found in West Texas' desert environments. This bird species prepares its nest at the base of a cactus, low tree or shrub. Female great roadrunners lay three to six eggs and have an incubation period of 20 days. The main material for a great roadrunner's nest is sticks, but this bird also outlines the nest with grass and leaves once the nest has been built.

Wild Turkey

  • Wild turkeys are ground-dwelling birds found in the plains of South Texas and the state's Hill Country region. The nests of wild turkey are depressions in the ground and surrounded by leaves and grasses. Once the turkey lays its eggs, it covers up the nest with vines and leaves to hide it from predators. This bird species only lay its eggs once a year. A collection of turkey eggs is called a "brood," and includes 10 to 15 eggs. The incubation period for a turkey is approximately one month.

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