Family: Emberizidae, New World Sparrows view all from this family
Description All birds have white outer tail feathers and a dark eye. ADULT MALE "Slate-colored" has mostly slate-gray plumage, except for white belly and undertail coverts; bill is pink. "Oregon" birds (whose Midwest winter range comes close to that covered by this book) have a black hood, reddish brown upperparts, and white underparts with a reddish wash on the flanks. ADULT FEMALE Recalls male of respective subspecies group, but in "Slate-colored" gray elements of plumage are tinged rufous, especially on crown and wings. "Oregon" females are paler overall than their male counterparts. JUVENILE Recalls adult female, but is browner and heavily streaked.
Dimensions Length: 5-6 1/4" (13-16 cm)
Habitat Common in coniferous and mixed forests. Present year-round in central parts of range but common in summer (mainly May-Aug) to northern boreal forests, wintering throughout U.S. in scrub and woodland.
Observation Tips Easy to see.
Range Western Canada, Southwest, Alaska, Florida, Plains, Great Lakes, Northwest, California, Rocky Mountains, Mid-Atlantic, Eastern Canada, Southeast, Texas, New England
Voice Song is a rapid, trilling tu'tu'tu'tu'tu; call is a tongue-smacking tchht.
Discussion Confusingly variable across its huge geographical range, represented by several different-looking subspecies "groups." Only "Slate-colored" birds are widespread in range covered by this book; descriptions below refer to these birds unless otherwise stated. Forms flocks outside breeding season.