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Olive Sparrow

Silhouette SparrowsSparrows
Olive SparrowArremonops rufivirgatus
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Passerellidae

Basic Description

A little-known sparrow of dense thorn scrub, the Olive Sparrow hops on the ground, never straying far from cover. This large, towhee-like sparrow is gray overall with an olive back and brown stripes on the head. It holds its rather long tail up while foraging for seeds and insects in the undergrowth. In the United States the Olive Sparrow occurs only in southern Texas, but it also occurs south of the border with a patchy distribution into Central America.

More ID Info
image of range map for Olive Sparrow
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Olive Sparrows are secretive birds that are best detected by sound. Listen for their ping-pong-like trilled song, or for the sound of their feet scratching amid the dry leaf litter as they forage. They are more vocal in the spring than at other times of the year. In some areas they visit bird feeders, feasting on the seeds under the feeder where they can be easily viewed in the open.

Other Names

  • Cerquero Oliváceo (Spanish)
  • Tohi olive (French)

Backyard Tips

If you live within the Olive Sparrow's range, they may visit your yard for seeds. They're more likely to take seeds scattered on the ground than placed in a feeder off the ground.

  • Cool Facts