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threatened and/or endangered

Golden-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia atricapilla


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Golden-crowned Sparrow

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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

Description ADULT BREEDING Has dark-streaked brown back and reddish brown wings with two white wing bars; rump and tail are gray-brown. Face and neck are gray and has a black crown with a yellow central stripe. Underparts are mostly grayish, but with brown wash on breast and flanks, and whitish undertail coverts. ADULT NONBREEDING Similar, but dark crown is mottled and less extensive, and central stripe is less colorful. JUVENILE Recalls nonbreeding adult, but head pattern is indistinct and plumage is heavily streaked. First-winter recalls nonbreeding adult, but with even fainter head markings.

Dimensions Length: 6-7" (15-18 cm)

Habitat Locally common summer visitor (mainly May-Aug) to wet boreal woodland; winters in dense woodland and chaparral.

Observation Tips Easiest to see at feeders.

Range Texas, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Northwest, Western Canada, Alaska, California

Voice Song is a delightful, piercingly whistled see'er-duu-see; call is a chattering cheep.

Discussion Pacific specialty. Forms flocks outside the breeding season, sometimes mixing with other species; often visits feeders, but prefers to keep near cover. Sexes are similar.