Striped Sparrow, Oriturus superciliosus

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Original descriptionAimophila superciliosa Swainson 1838

eBird range map

Taxonomic history at Avibase

Taxonomic history in AOU/AOS Check-list

AOU 6 (1983): Striped Sparrow, Oriturus superciliosus

AOU 7 (1998): Striped Sparrow, Oriturus superciliosus

IUCN Conservation Status: Of least concern

Habitat: This is usually the only sparrow found in its high-elevation habitat of bunch grass meadows and Sierra Madrean forest openings between 6,000 and 14,000 feet.  It is often encountered in flocks of five to ten birds.

Behavior: When disturbed, Striped Sparrows often fly up to perch on fences or dirt piles, where they call loudly and repeatedly.

Voice: The calls are bright and sharp, with a strong attack and rapid decay, TEEek, often given in a long series that may accelerate into a buzzing stutter. The brief but loud song begins with similar ticking notes, followed by one to four abrupt piping whistles and a loose, rattling trill, teekteek breeb breeb drdrdrdr.

Detailed description and measurements drawn from standard reference works

Adult, subspecies superciliosus: Blackish tail feathers edged and faintly tipped with light brown-gray, most clearly on the outer pair. Central tail feathers more extensively olive or olive-brown, the black reduced to a broad shaft streak and coarse jagged barring. Rump and upper tail coverts blackish brown with contrasting silvery gray edges. Mantle and scapular feathers rusty with broad but well-defined black shaft streaks, pale edgings creating scaled appearance. Primaries dull gray with paler gray edges, secondaries rusty, tertials black with broad brown edges and off-white tips. Greater coverts rusty with blackish inner vane and inconspicuous dull white edges and tips, creating faint wing bar. Median coverts largely black with inconspicuous dull white tips, creating very faint wing bar. Nape pale gray with fine black streaking. Underparts dull gray-white to off-white, whitest on belly; faint buffy wash on flanks. Under tail coverts, vent, and flanks with fine dusky streaks of variable extent. Chestnut, black-streaked crown with paler black-streaked median stripe. Long, broad supercilium off-white, buffier on supraloral. Lore, long eye line, area immediately beneath the eye, and ear coverts black, the last finely streaked white; fine white crescent below eye. Large bill black, tarsi and toes pale dull pink.

Adult, subspecies palliatus: Paler overall, with more reddish upperparts. Central tail feathers gray, the black reduced to a broad shaft streak and coarse jagged barring.

Juvenile: Underparts buffier; lower throat, upper breast, and sides of breast narrowly streaked dusky.

Length 155-162 mm (6.1-6.4 in)

Wing chord 76-79 mm (3.0-3.1 in)

Tail 67-70 mm (2.6-2.8 in)

W:T 1.13

Mass 37-41 g