Clay-colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida)

Clay-colored Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow - CSU San Bernardino
© Tom Benson
Clay-colored Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow - Devore, CA
© Tom Benson

The Clay-colored Sparrow is a casual visitor to campus: fall migrants were observed 01 Nov 2009 and 30 Oct 2011, and a spring migrant was seen 03 Apr 2016. It is a rare fall and winter visit to southern California, and is often found with flocks of Chipping Sparrows.

Clay-colored Sparrows can be identified by their streaky brown upperparts, white underparts with buffy breast, gray hindneck, finely streaked black and brown crown with white median stripe, and boldly striped face pattern. Overall they are similar to Chipping and Brewer's Sparrows, but lack the dark line in front of the eye and rusty coloration of Chipping Sparrows, and have more well-defined and contrasting facial markings than Brewer's Sparrows.


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