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Moss-backed Sparrow - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Stanley Jones
Cachi, Salta Province, Argentina, October 2019
Arremon dorbignii


15-16.5 cm

  • Head with black and white stripes
  • Upper back is grey which continues down the flanks
  • Lower mantle and part of the wings are moss-green
  • underside mostly whitish with a black collar on the lower throat
  • Tail mostly sepia-brown with yellowish wash
  • Bill orange-yellow with darker ridge to the culmen

Male as described; female and immature slightly duller, often with buff wash to underside.

Similar species

Pectoral Sparrow has a black bill. Saffron-billed Sparrow has white supercilium starting above the eye rather than reaching the bill.


Base of the Andes of eastern Bolivia (La Paz to Tarija) and northwestern Argentina (south to Catamarca).


This is a monotypic species[1].

This species has formerly been included in Saffron-billed Sparrow.


Understory of forest, both second growth and more mature forests.


Mostly found alone or with its mate but sometimes joins mixed flocks.


Song is a rapid and increasing series of high pitch notes.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. García, N. C., H. R. Gunningham, and D. L. Slager (2021). Moss-backed Sparrow (Arremon dorbignii), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.sabspa4.01

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