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Black-chinned Sparrow - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Raul Padilla
Ajacuba,, Mexico, August 2010
Spizella atrogularis


  • Medium sized sparrow
  • Plain, dark gray with brown-streaked back
  • Pale gray belly
  • Black chin
  • Pale eyestripe
  • Pink bill
  • Yellowish-gray legs and feet


S. a. Caurina
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Mount Diablo State Park, Contra Costa County, California, USA, 25 May 2021

Breeds from south central California east to southern Nevada and southwest Utah, south to Arizona, New Mexico, western Texas, and Mexico. Spends winters from coastal California, southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, south into Baja California and Mexico.



This is a polytypic species, consisting of four subspecies[1]:

  • S. a. evura:
  • S. a. caurina:
  • Coastal central California (Contra Costa to San Benito counties)
  • S. a. cana:
  • Interior coastal mountains of California (Monterey) to northern Baja
  • S. a. atrogularis:
  • Central plateau of Mexico (Durango to western Nuevo Leon and southern Oaxaca)


In desert areas they can be found in tall, dense sagebrush or other brushlands; in the far west, though, are more likely to be seen in dry chaparral with a variety of shrubs and scrub oak.


Forages in brush and on ground.

Flight Action

Short flights on rapidly beating wings alternating with periods of wings pulled to sides.


Trill of sweet-sweet-swee-iiiiii-r.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Black-chinned Sparrow - Whatbird.com
  3. Tenney, C. R. (2020). Black-chinned Sparrow (Spizella atrogularis), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.bkcspa.01

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.