Olive Sparrow

Arremonops rufivirgatus
Range Map

The Olive Sparrow’s preferred habitat is dense thorny scrublands. They range from southern Texas to Central America and are non migratory. Their songs are reminiscent of the bouncing ball song of the Black-Chinned Sparrow, and their appearance is similar to a Green-Tailed Towhee. They spend most of their time on or near the ground, both when foraging for seeds and the occasional insect, and when nesting.

Scientists have identified eight subspecies of Olive Sparrow:

  • A. r. rufivirgatus is resident in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas and Mexico.
  • A. r. crassirostris lives in Vera Cruz, Puebla, and Oaxaca (Mexico).
  • A. r. verticalis lives in the Mexican Yucatan and northern Central America.
  • A. r. rhyptothorax lives on the northern edge of the Yucatan Peninsula.
  • A. r. sinaloae lives on the Mexican west coast in Sinaloa and Nayarit.
  • A. r. sumichrasti lives in from Jalisco to Oaxaca (Mexico).
  • A. r. chiapensis lives in Chiapas (Mexico).
  • A. r. superciliosus lives in Central America.

Until I visited south Texas in the springs of 2020 and 2021, I’d never met an Olive Sparrow. Considering that South Texas is the only place north of Mexico where we can find them, this should come as no surprise. These birds are non-migratory, and so I enjoyed their company when I returned to Texas in the fall of 2022.

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