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March 17, 2018

Return of Bird of the Week: Rufous-winged Sparrow

The Rufous-winged Sparrow is just barely a North American bird, if you are a birder who keeps lists. This sparrow just barely occurs in southern Arizona; most of its range is in Medico which, for North American birders, isn’t part of North America. Geography doesn’t enter into it.

Rufous-winged Sparrow, SE ARizona

Rufous-winged Sparrow, SE Arizona

The Rufous-winged has the distinction of being one of the last bird species in the United States to be discovered and described. It’s an uncommon resident of local distribution in the Sonoran Desert region from south-central Arizona to northern Sinaloa, Mexico. The species prefers the scrub and grasses along washes and streams.

Rufous-winged Sparrow, pre-dawn light, SE Arizona

Rufous-winged Sparrow, pre-dawn light, SE Arizona

It is secretive, but the males perch on branches and grasses to sign, establishing territories. Like so much of birding, it helps to be there at the right time. The bird has a lovely, sweet trill, and most of the time you hear the trill a lot more often than you see the bird.

For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.




2 Responses to “Return of Bird of the Week: Rufous-winged Sparrow”
  1. mike from iowa says:

    Curious why so many smaller birds seem to have fairly long, sharp claws. They don’t appear to use them to grip perches or prey. Excellent shots as per usual. WC

    • Mike from Iowa, I’m not an ornithologist, but I’ll speculate they help the little songbird ā€“ passerines ā€“ grasp perches. There may be sexual selection operating, too, but I don’t know of any research on it.


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