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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 12:58 EDT

Golden-crowned Sparrow

The Golden-crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla, is a medium-sized sparrow. The breeding habitat is across the northern part of western Canada and the U.S. state of Alaska. In the winter the Golden-crowned Sparrow migrates to Vancouver Island in Canada and the West Coast of the United States.

At just over 7 inches in length, it is slightly larger than the closely related White-crowned Sparrow. When breeding, it has a distinct gold patch on its head, flanked by two dark black stripes. When not breeding, its plumage is more variable, ranging from a small, dull gold patch and no black stripes.

This bird nests in a shrubby habitat above the tree line or near the coast. Three to five brown-marked greenish white eggs are laid. During the breeding season a three-note whistle like song is displayed. It is also heard just after fall migration and just before spring migration. The birds in the British Columbia region have a slightly different song.

Golden-crowned Sparrow