5 1/2-7" (14-18 cm). Black-and-white striped crown; gray neck and breast; brown back, tail, and belly; white wing bars. Immatures have brown and buff head stripes.
Similar Species- White-throated Sparrow
One long whistle followed by wheezy trills on different pitches.
Breeds from northern Alaska, east across portions of Canada, and south to southern California, Nevada, central Arizona, and northern New Mexico. Winters from southern British Columbia, southeastern Washington, southern Idaho, Wyoming, and portions of Midwest and East, south to southern Baja California, southern mainland of Mexico, and Gulf Coast.
Feeds primarily on seeds of grasses and weeds (e.g., ragweed, pigweed, goosefoot, and panicum). Also feeds on invertebrates (e.g., ants, caterpillars, true bugs, beetles, spiders, and snails), especially in summer.
Builds cup-shaped nest in shrub or on ground. Large proportion of nests and nestlings may be lost to predators (e.g. garter snakes) in even a stable population. diurnal and crepuscular, but mostly inactive for several hours daily in continuous daylight at high latitudes. Forages on ground, or may take insects from foliage or air. May form flocks in winter, of 10-20 birds in southeastern U.S., 30-50 in West. Species is 1 of 7 neotropical migrants thought to be declining in Idaho.
Female incubates 2-5 eggs (rarely 6), for 9-15 days. Young are tended by both parents, leave nest in 9-11 days, and are fed to some degree for additional 25-30 days. On California coast, females may produce several broods annually.
|Status:||Protected nongame species|
Douglas, D.C., J.T. Ratti, R.A. Black, and J.R. Alldredge. 1992. Avian habitat associations in riparian zones of Idaho's Centennial Mountains. Wilson Bull. 104:485- 500.