Black-throated Sparrow 

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Amphispiza bilineata

Black-throated Sparrow

The Black-throated Sparrow is a small American sparrow primarily found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. It is sometimes referred to as the Desert Sparrow, due to its preferred habitat of arid desert hillsides and scrub.

Adults have gray-brown upperparts. Underparts are white, with a black bib. The tail is long with rounded tips and white edges. Head has a dark gray crown, tapering to a point on forehead, and contrasting with conspicuous white eyebrows and white malar stripe.

Cheeks are dark gray. Blackish bill is cone-shaped. Eyes are black with half white eye-ring below. Legs and feet are blackish.

Juveniles lack the black bib. They streaked upper breast and bold white eyebrows. Back is finely streaked.

Both sexes are 4.7 - 5.5 inches in length, with a wingspan of 8.7 inches and weigh around 11 - 15 grams.

It utters a rapid high-pitched song: two clear notes followed by a buzz or trill, sometimes several. The first two notes are quick and distinct; the last one is a prolonged silvery trill.

Feeds mainly on insects and seeds, according to the season. It will also consume green buds and fresh leaves, but also fruit and berries. It can survive a long period without water, getting water from its food.

Inhabits drier and hotter desert valleys, where there is sparse vegetation, and bush and scrub environment.

Breeds from the Great Basin, through the south-western United States, into northern Mexico. It may be summer resident in the Basin.

Winters in southern United States deserts and in Mexico.

The nest is cup-shaped, loosely built with small twigs and plant fibers, and lined with fine and soft materials, such as grass, plant down and rabbit fur. It is placed on or near the ground, in a low shrub where it is hidden.

The female lays 3 - 4 white or pale blue eggs. Incubation lasts about 12 - 15 days, by the female. Both adults take care of the chicks, feed them, and female broods them. Young fledge at about 10 - 11 days of age.


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