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Zonotrichia leucophrys1.jpg
White-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Passerellidae
Genus: Zonotrichia
Swainson, 1832

Z. leucophrys
Z. albicollis
Z. atricapilla
Z. capensis
Z. querula
Z. robusta

Zonotrichia is a genus of five extant American sparrows of the family Passerellidae.[1] Four of the species are North American, but the rufous-collared sparrow breeds in highlands from the extreme southeast of Mexico to Tierra del Fuego, and on Hispaniola.


The genus name Zonotrichia is from Ancient Greek ζώνη (zone, transl. band) and θρίξ (thrix, transl. hair).[2]


The species in the genus Zonotrichia are:

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
White-crowned-Sparrow.jpg Zonotrichia leucophrys White-crowned sparrow North America
Zonotrichia albicollis CT1.jpg Zonotrichia albicollis White-throated sparrow Canada and New England
Zonotrichia atricapilla by Brendan Lally.jpg Zonotrichia atricapilla Golden-crowned sparrow north-central Alaska (including the Aleutian Islands as far west as Unimak Island) and central Yukon south to the northwestern corner of the US state of Washington, and wintering from southern coastal Alaska to northern Baja California
Zonotrichia capensis -Buenos Aires, Argentina-8.jpg Zonotrichia capensis Rufous-collared sparrow south-east of Mexico to Tierra del Fuego, and on the island of Hispaniola
Harris's Sparrow (14u0779 std) (cropped).jpg Zonotrichia querula Harris's sparrow north part of central Canada (primarily the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, ranging slightly into northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan)
Zonotrichia robusta Miramar Formation, Argentina (Pleistocene)[3]

These birds have brown backs streaked with black, and distinctive head markings. Their cup nests, built by the female, are of plant material lined with fine grasses and constructed on the ground, low in a tree or bush, or in a niche in a wall.

The female lays brown-blotched greenish-blue or greenish white eggs, which she incubates for 12–14 days. The male helps in feeding the chicks.

Zonotrichia sparrows feed on the ground on seeds, fallen grain, insects and spiders.


  1. ^ Gill, F.; Donsker, D.; Rasmussen, P. (eds.). "Family Passerellidae". IOC World Bird List. International Ornithological Congress. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  2. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London, United Kingdom: Christopher Helm. p. 414. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  3. ^ 900 m SW of Punta Hermengo at Fossilworks.org


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