Black-throated SparrowAmphispiza bilineata
5 1/4" (13 cm). Gray above, white below, with striking black throat and breast; two conspicuous white stripes on sides of head, one above and one below the eye. Sexes alike.
Two clear notes followed by a buzzy trill.
two males countersinging
Recordings © Lang Elliott, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart, Bob McGuire, and others. Musicofnature.com. All Rights Reserved.
Deserts with cactus, mesquite, and creosote bush, and also sagebrush; partial to rocky places.
Breeds from northeastern California, southwestern Wyoming, and southeastern Colorado southward. Winters north to desert regions of southern United States.
This handsome sparrow of the arid Southwest is well named. Its old name, "Desert Sparrow," is also apt, for despite its vivid markings, it is often difficult to detect among the rocks and scrub, especially when not moving about. However, it may be observed when it mounts a bush or rock to sing its pleasant song. The Black-throated Sparrow is well adapted to the extremes of its habitat. Studies have shown that it has a great tolerance for heat and drought. During the hot months of late summer and early fall it maintains itself on dry seeds and drinks regularly at water holes. After the rains, these sparrows scatter into small flocks and feed on vegetation and insects, from which they derive all the moisture they need. They raise their young in the dry upland desert.
Four white eggs in a loosely built nest of bark strips, grass, and stems, lined with wool, hair, or feathers, and placed in a thorny bush.