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Rufous-Crowned Sparrow

Aimophila ruficeps

Not much of a traveler, the Rufous-Crowned Sparrow is a year-round resident of brushy areas in the Southwestern USA and interior Mexico. There are believed to be at least a dozen subspecies of this bird. The subspecies A. r. canescens lives in southwestern California and northeast Baja California, has been listed as a “species of special concern” by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, signifying that this population is threatened with extinction.

The genus Aimophila gets its name from the greek aimos, meaning “thicket” and philos meaning “loving”. The species name ruficeps comes from the Latin rufus, meaning “reddish” or “tawny”, and ceps from caput, meaning “head”. There is some debate about classification of birds in this genus, as some believe they should be classified as the genus Peucaea, which contains several sparrows in the genus Aimophila (e.g. Rufus-Winged Sparrow).

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