Discover Desert Wildlife at the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona
Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona is an outstanding attraction if you enjoy viewing wildlife or birding. A variety of species of animals and birds can be seen at the Refuge, and it is an incredibly picturesque area to hike, camp or take photographs of the desert and mountain landscape.
Kofa National Wildlife Refuge encompasses more than 665,000 acres of Arizona desert. In addition to the desert plains habitat, the Kofa and Castle Dom Mountain ranges provide additional habitat areas.
There are many interesting plants and animals to see at Kofa Refuge. The Refuge is home to the only native palm in the state of Arizona, the California fan palm. The rare Kofa Mountain barberry is another unique plant that you can see at the Refuge.
Desert bighorn sheep live in the two mountain ranges within the Refuge. The mountains are not particularly impressive in terms of height, but they are very rugged and steep. This is exactly the type of habitat that bighorn sheep need to thrive. Between 800 and 1,000 bighorn sheep live at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. Members of this large herd have been moved to inhabit other appropriate areas throughout Arizona and neighboring states, as well.
In addition to the magnificent bighorn sheep, you may see deer and the desert kit fox at the Refuge. Coyotes and rabbits may be spotted, as well ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, pocket mice and other animals. You may have to look closely and carefully to spot desert mammals.
The Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is home to many amphibians and reptiles. The desert tortoise, several types of toads, and the desert iguana are some of the animals that you may encounter on a tour of the Refuge. Many lizards reside here, including the desert horned lizard and large, fierce-looking (but usually shy) banded Gila monster. There are also dozens of snakes to look for at the Refuge, including the Sonoran coral snake, sidewinder, and several species of rattlesnakes.
Many of the animals at the Refuge are nocturnal, so they are mainly active only at night. You may wish to camp overnight at Kofa Refuge and plan to spot wildlife at dusk or dawn if you are very interested in seeing some of the unique animals that live here.
Birders can look forward to seeing some very interesting species at the Refuge. Some birds that are commonly observed here include the cactus wren, phainopepla, orange-crowned warbler, and Say’s phoebe. You may also see the white-winged dove, northern flicker and American kestrel.
You can obtain a complete bird list as well as mammal, reptile and amphibian lists online by searching for the Kofa pages at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, FWS.gov.