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"Bang's" Black-Throated Sparrow?? (Green Valley, AZ) (1 Viewer)

JohnKoerner007

Wildlife Photographer
I was able to photograph a most unusual Black-Throated Sparrow.

Usually, the Black-Throated Sparrows I photograph are smaller than this one. (I am no expert, but I believe majority are Amphispiza bilineata deserticola).

However, this particular Black-Throated Sparrow was much longer than I am used to seeing them. Its body was more reminiscent of an oriole than a sparrow. In fact, the Black-Throated Sparrows I see are typically smaller than a House Sparrow and kind of "hunchy." (When I see them near my feeders together, the Black-Throated always look a bit smaller than the House Sparrows.)

This particular Black Throat individual was much longer than house sparrow, yet colored like a Black-Throated. Here are some photos: _DSC6265.jpg _DSC6283.jpg

I was alerted by his unusual song. When I looked at his body size/length, from a distance, I thought it was a weird oriole. However, when I looked through my viewfinder, it was colored like a Black-Throat. Then it landed on the ground to rummage through the gravel for seeds. Its coloration made me think "Black-Throat" ... but its greater body length than usual, and that it was even almost somewhat cross-billed, all left me rubbing my chin. :unsure:

The closest thing I could think of, looking at photos online, was the "Bang's" Black-Throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata bangsi).

What say ye?
 
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Butty

Well-known member
Why do you think it was larger? Did you have a direct size comparison? Judging the size of a lone bird is notoriously unreliable.
Birds' shape at any given moment can be affected by a great variety of (temporary) things.
I'm not sure why you think that your bird may be A. b. bangsi. Did your bird have plumage features or structural features (apart from overall size) that you believe are specific to that race and which differ from your normal resident race?
 
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JohnKoerner007

Wildlife Photographer
Why do you think it was larger? Did you have a direct size comparison? Judging the size of a lone bird is notoriously unreliable.
Birds' shape at any given moment can be affected by a great variety of (temporary) things.
I'm not sure why you think that your bird may be A. b. bangsi. Did your bird have plumage features or structural features (apart from overall size) that you believe are specific to that race and which differ from your normal resident race?

Because I have seen (and photographed) hundreds of such birds in my yard.

This one was strikingly different.

Listen, butty, if you have the qualifications to tell me whether the above-posted sparrow looks is a Bang's (or not), please let me know.

However, you don't have these qualifications, then I'm not going to answer a litany of miscellaneous questions requested by somebody who doesn't know the difference. I'm simply seeking a response from somebody who does.

I've already posted clear photos, I've posted where I live, and I've posted the difference I've noticed; I don't need to explain or vet myself to you.

The differences I have noticed are from somebody who took an image of this bird with $25,000 worth of photography equipment. The perceived differences were substantial in my eyes and already clearly stated. If you have nothing meaningful to add, you don't need to comment.
 

Butty

Well-known member
Fair enough. I was trying to help. My points still stand, and my questions are directly aimed at helping you with your query. I'm not clear why your attitude is aggressive, but that's up to you of course.
 

JohnKoerner007

Wildlife Photographer
Fair enough. I was trying to help. My points still stand, and my questions are directly aimed at helping you with your query. I'm not clear why your attitude is aggressive, but that's up to you of course.

Sorry if I get a bit annoyed.

Your points do stand, but they're generalization questions, that believe I've already address addressed in the opening stanza.

I believe with the location, photos, and information provided an expert would be able to help me. If that's not you, that's fine.

If an expert told me that my photos and information were not enough, that's fine too. Sometimes that happens.

Enjoy the rest of your evening.
 

D Halas

Well-known member
I must admit, I've never heard of this subspecies before, but I went to the trouble to look up the original description. The entire diagnosis of Bangs's Black-throated Sparrow given by Grinnell in 1927 is as follows:

"Similar to Amphispiza bilineata deserticola Ridgway, of Sonora, Arizona, Nevada, southeastern California, and northern Lower California, but wing and tail shorter, bill averaging slightly larger, and color tone of upper surface slightly paler."

So, since your bird appeared to you longer than the average Black-throated Sparrow, I very much doubt that it's this subspecies.

I should add that making comparisons with photos you find online is one of the least reliable ways to ID a bird you've seen, and it's got to be even less reliable than usual at the subspecies level.
 

JohnKoerner007

Wildlife Photographer
I must admit, I've never heard of this subspecies before, but I went to the trouble to look up the original description. The entire diagnosis of Bangs's Black-throated Sparrow given by Grinnell in 1927 is as follows:

"Similar to Amphispiza bilineata deserticola Ridgway, of Sonora, Arizona, Nevada, southeastern California, and northern Lower California, but wing and tail shorter, bill averaging slightly larger, and color tone of upper surface slightly paler."

So, since your bird appeared to you longer than the average Black-throated Sparrow, I very much doubt that it's this subspecies.

I should add that making comparisons with photos you find online is one of the least reliable ways to ID a bird you've seen, and it's got to be even less reliable than usual at the subspecies level.
Thanks for taking the time to provide such a detailed reply. Always best to ID only to the level of certainty. Thanks again.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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