Black-throated Sparrow

photo by Phil Swanson

Amphispiza bilineata
L 5 1/2″ (14 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Various tinkling notes. Song starts with 2 or 3 melodious phrases, ends with fast tinkling trill.

Description: Sexes similar. Large triangular black patch on throat and breast; black lores. Contrasting white eyebrow; white whisker stripe; unstreaked white underparts. Upperparts are unstreaked brownish-gray; lacks wing bars. Black tail has white corners and outer tail feathers. Juveniles lack black bib and are finely streaked on breast and back.

Habitat: Usually found in cactus and sagebrush deserts, especially on rocky slopes.

Where in Nebraska: Accidental. Reported from Sioux County in 1972, Douglas County in winter of 1973-74, Keith County in 1984, and in Lancaster County in 1993. Rare casual fall and spring visitor.

Field Notes: Black-throated Sparrows have a high tolerance for heat and drought. Also known as “Desert Sparrow” in southwest U.S.

Fun Facts: Black-throated Sparrows can withstand long periods of time without water and instead obtain water from the insects and seeds they consume.

Black-throated Sparrow - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)