Sage Sparrow: Medium sparrow, dark-streaked brown back, white underparts with central breast spot, streaks on sides. Gray head has white patch in front of eye. White throat has dark moustache stripe. Brown wings, two faint bars. Long tail is dark, white edged. Coastal form is darker.
Range and Habitat
Sage Sparrow: Breeds from Washington south to Baja California and throughout the Great Basin. Spends winters in small flocks in low desert of southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas, south into Mexico. Found in sagebrush flats, alkaline flats with saltbush, and semi-desert shrublands in the lowlands.
The Sage Sparrow spends much of its time on the ground, running between shrubs with its tail raised in the air.
Five subspecies are recognized.
The three nonmigratory subspecies found in coastal California and Baja California were once collectively considered a separate species, "Bell's Sparrow."
The species name (belli) refers to John Graham Bell, a taxidermist who traveled with Audubon to the Yellowstone River.
A group of sparrows has many collective nouns, including a "crew", "flutter", "meinie", "quarrel", and "ubiquity" of sparrows.
The Sage Sparrow has a large range, estimated globally at 1,100,000 square kilometers. Native to the nations of North America, this bird prefers subtropical or tropical shrubland ecosystems but also resides in rural gardens. The global population of this bird is estimated at 4,300,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Sage Sparrow is Least Concern.