Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mystery Juvenile Sparrow

What we thought might be a slow midsummer banding session was actually pretty good - 23 birds of 14 species. Quite the variety. As often happens this time of year we had lots of juvenile birds including the young sparrow pictured below. We spent a significant amount of time running this bird through the key to come to our conclusion. What I'd like to hear is other people's opinions.

What is this bird and why do you think that? You can double click the images to make them larger for a more detailed view.

It was netted on the edge of a large grassland.

It had a buffy throat with a bit of streaking.

The feathers of the back were relatively dark.

The retrices were very pointed and long.

The top of the head had a median stripe.

I'll post our identification and some more photos of this bird later. Until then have fun!


Joel Claus said...

Juvenile Clay-colored sparrow

Ben Sandstrom said...

That's a real bear to identify. It's definitely not one of the three I'm studying (Henslow's, Grasshopper, and Savannah). I don't know with any certainty, but if I had to guess, I'd say Clay-Colored. The cheek is buffy-colored, the crown has the double dark line, and the tail length is fairly long. Juvenile Clay-Coloreds have streaky flanks too. Also, Clay-Coloreds tend to hang out at the edge of grasslands rather than in them.

Alvaro Jaramillo said...

Hi there - This looks like a molting juvenile Clay-colored Sparrow to me.

TaxMan said...

It looks like a Clay-colored Sparrow to me.

Sullivan said...

I say juvenile Clay-colored Sparrow.

- eye-line does not extend through eye
- no eye-ring
- unstreaked, gray nape
- brownish rump (little contrast between back/rump)
- very little streaking on breast

What did you guys come up with?

Sulli Gibson