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Black-chinned Sparrow Spizella atrogularis


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Black-chinned Sparrow, female
credit: Arlene Ripley /CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Emberizidae, New World Sparrows view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE BREEDING Has a streaked reddish brown back and reddish brown wings with two faint wing bars; rump and tail are gray. Plumage is otherwise mostly gray, except for black face and white undertail coverts. ADULT FEMALE BREEDING Similar, but without black face. ALL WINTER BIRDS Similar to breeding female. JUVENILE Similar to winter adult, but with faintly streaked underparts.

Dimensions Length: 5-5 1/2" (13-14 cm)

Habitat Locally common summer visitor (mainly May- Aug) to rocky slopes with impenetrable scrub or (in California) dense chaparral; threatened by habitat loss and degradation. Winters in similar habitats from southwestern U.S. to Mexico.

Observation Tips Easily overlooked when not singing.

Range Southwest, Texas, California

Voice Song starts with a slurred, whistling tsee'ooerr-tsee and ends in a rapid trill; call is a thin tzik.

Discussion Distinctive, but unobtrusive pink-billed sparrow that is often a challenge to see. Sexes are separable when breeding.