Size:  5.5”

Plumage/Description:  Male and female plumage similar.  Breeding plumage is more striking.  Crisp colors include a Rufous cap, a black stripe through the eye, gray nape, rump, throat, breast and belly. Back and wings are a rich brown color with black streaking.  Winter plumage is more muted, the Rufous on the crown of the head fades to fine streaking, and the stripe through the eye is not as bold.

Habitat:  Residential areas, Oak/Chaparral, Pinyon/Juniper, Ponderosa/Coniferous, Riparian/Deciduous

Time of year:  Year-round

Relative Abundance:  In winter this species moves down in elevation and is a frequent visitor to backyard bird feeding stations.  In summer this species moves up in elevation to Ponderosa Pine forest habitat where it breeds.

Behavior:  Usually occurs in small flocks.  A ground feeding species that prefers white-proso millet at bird feeders.  Not uncommon to see in a mixed flock in winter with Dark-eyed Juncos and White-crowned Sparrows.

Diet:  Seeds, insects

Similar species:  Brewers sparrow in winter

Best Sites:  During winter frequently seen in residential settings, Pioneer Park, Heritage such as in the Bradshaw Mountains or Granite Mountain.