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Harris's Sparrow (Zonotrichia querula)

Name Derivation:

Harris's: for Edward Harris (1799 - 1863).  A friend and benefactor of John James Audubon, Harris traveled with him collecting specimens and provided the financial assistance that enabled Audubon to complete his "Birds of North America" project.  Harris was also the first person to bring Norman horses to the United States.
Sparrow: altered form of Middle English sparowe which has been traced back to the Indo-European language root of sper, meaning "sparrow".
Zonotrichia: Greek meaning "bird with bands" alluding to the band-like streaks on the head of other sparrows in this genus.
querula: Latin for "plaintive" or "complaining", in reference to it's call.

Other names:

Hooded Crown Sparrow; Spanish: none (does not occur in Mexico).


Class: Aves; Order: Passeriformes; Family: Emberizidae.

Key Identification Characters:

Adults with pink bill bordered by black mask, crown and throat; white underparts with black streaks on flanks; streaked brown back; immatures with pink bill, buff head (often with traces of black); white underparts with streaks on flanks; male and female similar.


Nests in western Canada, winters in western United States.
 Locally: casual winter visitor, often with White-crowned Sparrows.


Primarily plant material, including ragweed and other weed seeds, small fruits, and berries; animal material includes insects, spiders, and snails.


Number of eggs/clutch: 3 5 eggs; egg: whitish, heavily spotted with shades of brown; 0.85" x 0.65"; nesting: on ground under bush or small conifer; nest a cup of twigs, grasses, mosses, lichens, lined with fine grasses.


Contributor: Scott M. Cutler, Curator of Collections and Exhibits; Curator of Ornithology