Friday, October 7, 2011

Rufous-Crowned Sparrow

The Rufous-Crowned Sparrow has a darker back and darker wings than most of his cousins. They don't stray very far out of the southwest and aren't especially common, so it was nice to see one by the exit to the Desert Botanical Gardens. I didn't even have to do any work.
That being said, I didn't get great pictures either, and I'll be keeping a careful eye out for this rufous-headed rascal next time.
Apparently it's pretty rare to see them in the lower altitudes, and this was the first reported/documented sighting at the Desert Botanical Gardens, YAY.
 Here in the sunlight you can see the rufous cap, as well as the facial stripes and even the hint of a dark line running down the chin. These all help to distinguish the Rufous-Crowned Sparrow from look-alikes such as the Lark and Chipping Sparrows.
In addition to the rufous crown, you can see the peculiarly dark wings. Sparrows usually have a lot of mottling or streaking with white and lighter browns, but not this guy. The tail is similarly dark, but I cut it off in the picture...I know I know.

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