Harris’s Sparrow

Zonotrichia querula
Range Map

Harris’s Sparrows are seldom found in either the eastern or western states. They spend winters in the heartlands of the southern prairie states (Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas). They breed in the far north of central Canada, predominantly in the northern Northwest Territory, and from Nunavut to the western shores of Hudson Bay. During typical migration, breeding, and winter seasons, we find these birds near the mid-continent, on the prairies through midwestern North America.

Summer birds show gray on the sides of their heads, which in winter turns to a light brown. Some may argue that their winter basic plumage is more handsome than their summer, or alternate plumage.

I’ve only met a single Harris’s Sparrow, and it was completely out of its native range at the Salton Sea in southern California. One day I hope to meet the species again in its home range.

Science does not recognise any subspecies (i.e. they are monotypic).

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