White-Throated Sparrow

Zonotrichia albicollis
Range Map

The White-Throated Sparrow is a bird of the forest, and breeds across most of Canada, but they’re familiar winter birds in most of eastern and southern USA, and even coastal Washington, Oregon and California.

There are two varieties of this species, split by plumage polymorphism (white-striped and tan-striped morphs), but not considered to be a subspecies. In fact, researchers claim that the two varieties often seek their opposite version for mating.

White-Throated Sparrows crossbreed with other birds in the sparrow clan. They’ve shared their genes with Golden-Crowned Sparrows, White-Crowned Sparrows, Dark-Eyed Juncos, and Song Sparrows. Observers have even reported this broad-minded species fostering Dark-Eyed Junco chicks who did not appear to be hybrids.

Modern science believes the White-Throated Sparrow is a monotypic species (i.e. no subspecies).

I first met these birds in Alberta (Canada), and later in British Columbia, while driving to Alaska in 2005. My only “stateside” meeting (so far) came in Albuquerque (New Mexico), in 2016.

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