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Harris's Sparrow Zonotrichia querula


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Immature Harris's Sparrow which has a brown striped head as opposed to the black striped head of the mature breeding bird. N
credit: SriMesh/CCSA

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

Description ADULT BREEDING Has streaked reddish brown back and reddish brown wings with two white wing bars. Head has largely gray cheeks with black crown, face, throat, and bib, and ear covert margins. Underparts are whitish gray, with dark streaks on flanks. ADULT NONBREEDING is similar, but gray elements of head plumage are buffish brown and dark crown is speckled. JUVENILE Lacks black on face and has streaked breast and flanks. First-winter has hint of adult's black face markings, but a white throat and dark streaking on breast.

Dimensions Length: 7 1/2" (19 cm)

Habitat Locally common summer visitor (mainly May-Sep) to stunted boreal forests on brushy fringes of tundra; in winter, favors open woodland and scrub in central Great Plains.

Observation Tips Note species' restricted breeding and winter ranges.

Range Rocky Mountains, Southwest, New England, Alaska, Mid-Atlantic, California, Eastern Canada, Southeast, Texas, Western Canada, Plains, Great Lakes, Northwest

Voice Song comprises long, drawn-out and penetrating whistles; call is a sharp tchink.

Discussion Large, plump, and distinctive sparrow. All birds have a pink bill. Endemic to Canada as a breeding species. Forms flocks outside the breeding season and mixes with other sparrow species. Sexes are similar, although typically male has larger bib than female and bib increases in size with age.