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Rufous-crowned Sparrow Aimophila ruficeps


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Rufous-crowned Sparrow
credit:  Texas.lorarend:)/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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

Description ADULT Has grayish plumage overall, but back is streaked rufous brown and has rufous edges to inner flight feathers. Crown is rufous with pale central stripe, and gray face is marked with white eyering; supercilium is very pale in front of eye. Pacific birds have dark eyestripe and buffy "mustache"; Interior birds have rufous eyestripe and whitish "mustache." All birds have dark malar stripe and otherwise gray underparts. JUVENILE Similar, but more streaked.

Dimensions Length: 5-6" (13-15 cm)

Habitat Locally common resident of stony, grassy slopes.

Observation Tips Easiest to see when singing in spring.

Range Southeast, Plains, Rocky Mountains, California, Southwest, Texas

Voice Song comprises a couple of nasal cheeps followed by a rattling chip-chip-chip chip-chit; call is a sharp, nasal d'neer.

Similar Species Rufous-winged Sparrow A. carpalis (L 5.75-6 in) has rufous lesser coverts (most obvious in flight) and stubbier, yellowish (not dark) bill; very local resident in arid grassland in southern Arizona.

Discussion Unobtrusive sparrow, invariably associated with rocky or stony ground. Sometimes sings and surveys territory from prominent boulder. Subtle subspecies variation exists. Sexes are similar.