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Description of the Black-chinned Sparrow


The Black-chinned Sparrow has a plain gray head and underparts, a brown, streaked back, and a pink bill. Males have a small black face and throat patch.  Length: 6 in.  Wingspan: 8 in.

black-chinned sparrow


Females have a gray face and throat.

Black chinned Sparrow 3 gl
Photograph © Greg Lavaty.

Seasonal change in appearance

Males lose the black face and throat in the fall.


Juveniles have streaked underparts.


Black-chinned Sparrows inhabit arid slopes and sagebrush.


Black-chinned Sparrows eat insects and seeds.


Black-chinned Sparrows forage on the ground, generally rather slowly.


Black-chinned Sparrows breed throughout parts of the western and southwestern U.S. They winter in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. The population appears to be stable.

Fun Facts

Black-chinned Sparrows gather in small flocks in the fall and winter.

There are two U.S. subspecies of Black-chinned Sparrows, with central California birds being slightly darker.


The song consists of a series of slurred notes. A soft "siss' call is also given.


The Black-chinned Sparrow’s nest is a cup of weeds, grass, and fibers and is lined with finer materials. It is placed low in a sagebrush or shrub.

Number: Usually lay 2-4 eggs.

color: Pale bluish in color, sometimes with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 13 days, though the age at which they fledge is not well known.