4 3/4-5 1/2" (12-14 cm). Black and white striped head: white eyebrow and whiskers; black throat, eyestripe, and crown. White eyering and black bill. Body grayish-brown, lighter below and darker on tail.
Similar Species- Sage Sparrow
Song: shi-twi-twit-cheree (last note trilled).
Breeds from northeastern California, southwestern Wyoming, northwestern Oklahoma, and north-central Texas, south to southern Baja California and north-central mainland of Mexico. Winters from U.S. deserts southward.
Found in desert scrub, thorn bush, mesquite and juniper. During migration and in winter, also found occasionally in grassy areas and weedy fields away from desert regions. In Idaho, prefers open shrub areas dominated by high sage, spiny hopsage, or horsebrush exceeding 50 cm in height.
Feeds on seeds and insects. During some seasons, species may obtain daily water requirements from food source.
Builds cup-shaped nest in shrub or cactus; in Idaho, all located nests have been 25-45 cm above ground in big sagebrush plants. Individuals usually forage on ground, but may forage in air. In California study, population density of 7/40 ha was reported in desert scrub/creosote/burrobush habitat; in another study, density was 3.9/40 ha.
clutch size varies from 3-4 eggs. Nestlings are altricial and downy.
|Status:||Protected nongame species|
Marks, J.S., J.H. Doremus, and A.R. Bammann. 1980. Black-throated Sparrows breeding in Idaho. Murrelet 61:112-113.