Dark-Eyed Junco

Junco hyemalis
Range Map

Juncos are members of the sparrow family. The Dark-Eyed Junco group has fifteen members, or subspecies, including eight Oregon subspecies, the Slate Colored, the Pink-Sided, and others. In the western and north-eastern USA they are resident year round, but in the far north (Canada and Alaska) you will only find them in the summer, while in the Great Plains and much of the Southwestern USA only find them in winter.

There are eight members of the Oregon group:

  • J. h. oreganus breeds in southeastern Alaska, and coastal British Columbia.
  • J. h. shufeldti breeds from British Columbia south through western Washington and western Oregon.
  • J. h. montanus breeds in British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, Idaho, eastern Washington, and eastern Oregon.
  • J. h. thurberi breeds from southern Oregon south through coastal California.
  • J. h. pinosus is resident on the central California coast.
  • J. h. pontilis is resident in northern Baja California.
  • J. h. townsendi (also cited as pink-sided) is resident in the mountains of Baja California.
  • J. h. mearnsi (also cited as pink-sided) breeds in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and southern Canada.

There are three members of the Slate-Colored group:

  • J. h. hyemalis breeds from Alaska east to Newfoundland, and from British Columbia to New England.
  • J. h. carolinensis lives in the Appalachian Mountains.
  • J. h. cismontanus breeds east of the Rocky Mountains in northwestern Canada.

There are two members of the Gray-Headed group:

  • J. h. caniceps breeds in southern Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, eastern California, and east to central Colorado and New Mexico.
  • J. h. dorsalis lives in Arizona and New Mexico.


  • White-Winged Junco (J. h. aikeni) lives in Colorado, Montana, the Dakotas, Wyoming and Nebraska.
  • Guadalupe Junco (J. h. insularis) lives on Guadalupe Island and Baja California (Mexico).

The gallery below shows some of the juncos I’ve met during my travels to Alaska, Canada, Wyoming, Arizona, Texas, and across California. If you are traveling through potential junco habitat, keep an eye out for small sparrow-like birds flying up from the ground and into any nearby trees. If you notice a white inverted “V” on a dark tail, you can bet they are juncos.

75 Photos

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