Living Bird Magazine
Black-throated SparrowAmphispiza bilineata
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Passerellidae
This resident of open, shrubby deserts is one of the sharpest-looking of all sparrows. Black-throated Sparrows have neat gray faces set off by two bold white stripes and a neat black triangular patch on the throat. The face pattern jumps out when the bird is perched in the open, but at other times the soft brown back and pale underparts help it blend in with its desert home. You'll have to listen intently for little tinkling calls as these quiet birds forage on the ground for seeds and insects.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Despite the boldly marked face, Black-throated Sparrows can be easy to overlook if they are not perched in the open. Their desert-washed bodies and quiet songs and calls can be hard to locate, but sound is often the best way to find them: listen for tinkling sounds gently rising from ground level. In the spring, males tend to sing from shrub tops and are easier to spot.
- Chingolo Gorjinegro (Spanish)
- Bruant à gorge noire (French)
Within their range, Black-throated Sparrows sometimes visit backyards to eat seeds such as black oil sunflower. This map shows approximate locations where Project FeederWatch participants have reported Black-throated Sparrows in their backyard counts over the years.
- Cool Facts
- The Black-throated Sparrow establishes and holds a large territory during nest construction and egg laying. Once incubation starts, the territory boundary shrinks, and the male becomes less responsive to intruders.
- The oldest recorded Black-throated Sparrow was a female, and at least 6 years old when she was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Arizona.