Dark-eyed Junco

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image: dejunco.jpg

Common Name: Dark-eyed Junco

Scientific Name: Junco hyemalis

Size: 6.5 inches ( 14-16 cm)

Habitat: North America; Summers and breeds from western Alaska eastward to Newfoundland, southward in mountains to southern California and northern Georgia. Winters from southern Canada to northern Mexico and northern Florida. Breeds in coniferous and mixed forest. Winters in fields, suburbs, chaparral, parks, gardens, grassy dunes, and fencerows.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 260,000,000 Mature individuals.

Diet: Insects and seed.

Breeding: Sexes similar, but females average paler and browner. Nest an open cup with foundation of rootlets, dried leaves, moss, and bark strips. Lined with fine grass stems, hair, or moss setae. Usually placed in small cavity on sloping bank or rock face, among roots of toppled tree, or along sloping road cut. 3-5 eggs.

Cool Facts: The Dark-eyed Junco is a common bird at winter bird feeders across North America.

The Dark-eyed Junco includes five forms that were once considered separate species. The "slate-colored junco" is the grayest, found from Alaska to Texas and eastward. The "Oregon junco" is boldly marked blackish and brown, with a distinct dark hood, and is found in the western half of the continent. The "gray-headed junco" has a brown back and gray sides and lives in the central Rocky Mountains. The "white-winged junco" is all gray with white wingbars, and breeds only near the Black Hills of South Dakota. The "Guadalupe junco" of Baja California is dull and brownish. Two other forms may be distinguishable: the "pink-sided junco," a pale version of the Oregon junco, living in the northern Rocky Mountains, and the "red-backed junco," a gray-headed junco with a dark upper bill, found in mountains near the Mexican border

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