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White-crowned Sparrow

From Opus

Nominate Z. l. leucophrysPhoto © by MuskratColumbia County, northeastern Pennsylvania, USA
Nominate Z. l. leucophrys
Photo © by Muskrat
Columbia County, northeastern Pennsylvania, USA
Zonotrichia leucophrys


[edit] Identification

14–17 cm (5½-6¾ in)
Black and white stripes on their head, a grey face, brown streaked upper parts and a long tail. The wings are brown with bars and the underparts are grey. Their bill is pink or yellow.

Details of the head pattern differ between subspecies; see Taxonomy section below.

One of the western subspeciesPhoto © by digishooterWofford Heights, Kern County, California, USA
One of the western subspecies
Photo © by digishooter
Wofford Heights, Kern County, California, USA

[edit] Distribution

Breeds from Alaska and western Canada east to Labrador and northern Quebec. In western North America breeds south to central California and the mountains of northern Arizona and New Mexico. Winters in the southern and central United States (on the Atlantic coast as far north as Pennsylvania and Long Island) and in northern Mexico.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

There are five recognized subspecies[1]:

  • Z. l. leucophrys:
  • Z. l. oriantha:
  • Mountains of south-western Canada to south-western US; winters to southern Baja and central Mexico
  • Z. l. gambelii:
  • North Alaska and northern Yukon to south-central Canada; winters to northern Mexico
JuvenilePhoto © by tetoneonNew Jersey, October 2015
Photo © by tetoneon
New Jersey, October 2015
  • Z. l. nuttalli:
  • Coastal central California (Mendocino Co. to Santa Barbara Co.)
  • Z. l. pugetensis:

The latter three subspecies, sometimes grouped for identification purposes as "Gambel's White-crown," are distinguished by their white lores and orange to yellow bill. (Nominate and oriantha share black lores and pink bill.)

[edit] Habitat

Subspecies Z. l. gambeliiPhoto © by peterdayNome, Alaska, June 2017
Subspecies Z. l. gambelii
Photo © by peterday
Nome, Alaska, June 2017

Winters in hedgerows and densely vegetated field edges, roadsides and streambanks, woodland and forest edges. In California it is an abundant nester in coastal scrub, but winters in a wide range of habitats, including dry deserts, as for instance in the Kelso Valley of Kern County.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

They forage on the ground and in low vegetation, for beetles, bugs, seeds and plant material. They sometimes make short flights to catch flying insects.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved April 2016)
  3. BF Member observations

[edit] External Links


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