WINTER BACKYARD BIRDS (U.S. AND CANADA)

Dark-Eyed Junco

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Junco Hyemalis

Dark-Eyed Junco

Adults generally have gray heads, necks, and breasts, gray or brown backs and wings, and a belly, but show a confusing amount of variation in plumage details. Their outer tail feathers flash distinctively in flight.

Males tend to have darker, more conspicuous markings than females.

Juveniles often have pale streaks and may even be mistaken for a Vesper Sparrow until they acquire adult plumage at 2 - 3 months.

BILL: small, pale pinkish.

SIZE: small, measuring about 5.1 - 6.9 inches in length, with a wingspan of 7.1 - 9.8 inches.

WEIGHT: weight varies from 18 - 30 grams.

COLOR: gray, brown, white and pinkish.

Primary Diet: omnivore.

Animal Foods: insects, terrestrial non-insect arthropods.

Plant Foods: seeds, grains, and nuts.

Woodland areas that have openings with dense herbaceous ground cover, such as coniferous and deciduous forests, forest edges, woodland clearings, stream borders, open woodlands, brushy cover bordering mountain meadows, and old barns. In winter they prefer weedy fields but also inhabit open woodlands, hedgerows, suburbs, and farmyards.

Alaska, Central Yukon to Labrador and Newfoundland, south to central coastal California, Eastern California, Central Arizona, Western Texas, Southern Alberta, Northern and East-central Minnesota, Central Michigan, Southern New England, the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia and northwestern South Carolina; also the Black Hills. Winters from central and south coastal Alaska, coastal British Columbia and across southern Canada south to Mexico, the Gulf Coast and northern Florida.

NEST: cup-shaped nest made of sticks, leaves, and moss, and are lined with soft materials, like grasses, mosses or mammal hair. The female builds the nest and the male helps by bringing nest material. Nests are usually built on the ground near the edge of a forest opening, hidden under plants, logs, tree roots, or other shelters and sometimes built in a tree or shrub up to 8 feet above the ground.

EGGS: 3 - 6 white or pale green eggs spotted with brown.

INCUBATION: 12 - 13 days, female only

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They usually hop or walk, they are social during autumn and winter and are often found in flocks. They spend most of their time either perching or looking for food. They are also migratory birds.

Dark-Eyed Junco Infographic

REFERENCES: http://www.biokids.umich.edu

                         https://animaldiversity.org

                         https://en.wikipedia.org

                         https://www.beautyofbirds.com

 

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