Recently split (2013) from formerly conspecific Bell's Sparrow. Upperparts are light grayish brown, with fine dusky streaking. The tail is charcoal-gray to blackish with narrow white edges. The head and nape are medium ashy-gray. The face shows a white eye ring, large white supraloral spots, and a broad white submoustachial stripe above a narrow black malar streak. The underparts are mostly white with a dark spot on the breast with variably amounts of streaking and buffy wash on the flanks. Fresh basic-plumaged adults seem to show more buff on flanks than spring adults.Juvenile is gray-brown instead of gray on the head and the face pattern is much weaker. Underparts are crisply streaked, much like a juvenile Dark-eyed Junco. Similar Bell's Sparrow is darker on the head, browner and less streaked above, shows a warm buffy wash on the flanks, and lacks white outer tail feathers.
Length: 12 (cm) Wingspan: 21 (cm)
Song is a series of tinkling notes: tic tic tseeeee ticka-seee.
Interior: sage steppe. Coastal: coastal chaparral.
Often runs on the ground with tail held upright.
Forages on or near the ground for seeds and small invertebrates.
The "Bell's Sparrow" of coastal and interior California chaparral sings a song so unlike that of the Great Basin birds that it's scarcely recognizable as being of the same species...along with its strikingly different habitat, isolation or near-isolation from other breeding Sage Sparrows (Great Basin and "saltbush" forms), and distinctive plumage, many of us would not be surprised if this form is elevated to species status.
Citation: Personal Experience. I observe this occasionally, confident.
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|Activity||Date & Time|
|David Fix added a note to Sagebrush Sparrow Notes||7/03/2011 at 2:56PM|