Sunday, May 12, 2013

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollis

Zonotrichia means "hair-like" and refers to the striped head and albicollis means "white neck." 

Zonotrichia includes the White-crowned, White-throated, Golden-crowned, and Harris's Sparrows. The White-throated Sparrow is the smallest of these four large sparrows at 6.75 inches in length. 

The White-throated Sparrows arrived in my garden today. This species demonstrates plumage polymorphism. The two forms interbreed and studies show that individuals tend to select mates of the opposite morph type. Today I spotted both forms, perhaps they were a breeding pair. In the morning I spotted a tan-striped adult and later in the afternoon I saw a white-striped adult. The photo below is the best I could accomplish of the white-striped adult who was well concealed in a Golden Current bush.
I commonly hear the song of the White-throated Sparrow in the mornings, but I do not see the bird as often.

The bird below was photographed on September 23, 2012. 


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. 
Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Beadle D, Rising J. Sparrows of the United States and Canada. Princeton UP. 2003. 

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

Tudge Colin. The Bird. Crown Publishers. New York. 2008.

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