A small, well-patterned, sparrow-like, Asian songbird; rare to Pacific Coast of North America. Alternate Adult male has black head with white throat, broad white supercilium, ragged crest, small pink bill. Upperparts are light gray-brown with heavy dark streaking and mostly white underparts with dense reddish brown streaking coalescing into a V across the breast, and rusty streaking down the flanks. Female, suggestive of a Lark Sparrow, has a rusty crown with buffy to white median stripe and fine black streaking, a yellow supraloral spot that fades into a buffy, near-white supercilium, broad blackish stripe through the eye, and reddish brown auriculars, a broad, conspicuous white malar, and a streaky brown lateral throat stripe. Underparts are mostly white with buffy wash and dark streaking on the breast and flanks. Back is light earthy brown with dark streaks. Immatures are similar to adult female, but show a much paler overall head pattern with creamier (not white) malar, supercilium, and throat, and limited rufous streaking on flanks. All ages show two thin white wingbars; the upper wingbar is accentuated by black subterminal spots above the white terminal spots on the median coverts. In all plumages, note white outer tail feathers in flight.
Length: 15 (cm) Wingspan: 24 (cm)
Edges, weedy fields, brushy areas, scrub, suburbs. Breeds in coniferous forests.
Cup-shaped nest, in Eurasia, is placed low in a bush or on the ground. Sometimes flocks with sparrows.
Gleans low foliage or feeds on ground; eats a variety of seeds and insects. Sometimes visits bird feeders.
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