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Rufous-crowned sparrow        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Rufous-crowned sparrows occur in two disjunct populations, one near the Pacific coast (like these birds) and one from the interior west of the US.   Both like scrubby hill slopes with lots of cover, and both have head patterns rather similar to that of the desert-dwelling rufous-winged sparrow.   Most of the rufous-crowns on this page are in fresh breeding plumage, but at least one bird has entered post-breeding molt and hence looks a bit less well-groomed.   I took these pictures at the Motte Rimrock Reserve near Perris, California, in Two Trees Canyon and the Box Springs Mountains, Riverside, California. in the nearby San Jacinto Wildlife Area, and in southeastern Arizona; the Arizona birds (immediately below) are noticeably darker than those from California.

  • Canon 10D or 1D4; 500 mm f4 IS lens plus 1.4X or 2X converter or 800 mm IS lens plus 1.4X converter, fill-in flash (2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2019)