- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Passerellidae
A rather secretive species of desert grasslands and coastal prairie, the Botteri’s Sparrow is subtly plumaged in brown, rust, and tan, which helps it blend with its arid environment. During the breeding season, after the summer rains commence, the bouncing-ball song of this sparrow is usually the first indication of its presence—and a good way to distinguish it from the similar Cassin’s Sparrow, which often nests near it. In Arizona, Botteri’s Sparrows are most common where beautiful sacaton grass grows in abundance.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Botteri’s Sparrows are most conspicuous during summer, when males perch and sing, often staying at it into the heat of the day. At other times of year, look for Botteri’s Sparrows by walking quietly through grassland and listening for its distinctive high, thin tsip—a call note that is difficult to pinpoint. Look down—these birds often skulk on the ground and may even remain motionless.
- Chingolo de Botteri (Spanish)
- Bruant de Botteri (French)
- Cool Facts
- The name Botteri’s Sparrow honors Matteo Botteri, an Italian naturalist from what is now Croatia. He secured the first specimen in Mexico, and it was scientifically described by Philip Lutley Sclater, an English attorney and ornithologist who served as the Secretary of the Zoological Society of London.
- Botteri's Sparrow was much more widespread in Arizona in the early and middle 19th century than it is now. Loss of grasslands and possibly natural cycles are probably responsible for the decline. The species was not recorded at all in Arizona from 1903 to 1932.