Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Coues Deer

The diminutive Coues Deer (Odocoileus virginianus couesi) found down here in the south-western US mountains is a subspecies of White-tailed Deer.  

A buck stands about 30" high at the shoulder and measures 56" head to tail, making it one of the smallest deer in North America.

On average bucks weigh 100 lbs. and does about 75 lbs.

I was at the Visitor's Center at Coronado National Park when this group of Coues stopped for a drink at the spring just outside the viewing window. There was one buck, two does and two last year fawns.

They prefer woodlands of chaparral, oak, and pine, with interspersed clearings and range in terrain elevations from 3,000 to 10,000 feet, with the greatest densities of deer concentrated within the 3,500 to 5,500 feet elevation.

They are named for Elliott Coues, who, among many other things, was  a founder of the American Ornithologists' Union, and edited its organ, The Auk, and several other ornithological periodicals.

 In 1872 he published his Key to North American Birds, which, revised and rewritten in 1884 and 1901, did much to promote the systematic study of ornithology in America. His work was instrumental in establishing the currently accepted standards of trinomial nomenclature - the taxonomic classification of subspecies - in ornithology, and ultimately the whole of zoology. 

In addition to ornithology he did valuable work in mammalogy; his book Fur-Bearing Animals (1877) being distinguished by the accuracy and completeness of its description of species, several of which were already becoming rare.

Information from:


  1. Truly exotic creatures and I'd never heard of them. Just I'll have to get out more often...:)

  2. Great pics! I'm loving the looks at your trip!