Interdisciplinary scholarship that combines research questions and methodologies from biology and ethnohistory generates new insights into historical interactions between human and bird populations in ancient and colonial Mesoamerica. Codices, ethnohistorical sources, and surviving feather art point to the religious, economic, and artistic importance of various types of birds to Nahua people. Alongside the well-known resplendent quetzal and lovely cotinga, many additional species were significant to ancient and colonial Nahuas. This article presents potential directions for scholarship that bridge biology and ethnohistory and surveys key resources, including natural history collections and online databases. Finally, the article employs the biological literature to describe eleven bird species of great importance to Nahuas, detailing the species’ appearance and plumage, geographic range, variation, habitat, behaviors, and current status. Ultimately, the article demonstrates how insights from natural history and ethnohistory together allow for a fuller understanding of Nahuas’ material and conceptual interactions with these birds.

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