Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Sooty fox sparrow

Passerella iliaca unalaschcensis


The Sooty Fox Sparrow contains the darkest-colored taxa in the genus Passerella. It is currently classified as a "subspecies group" within the Fox Sparrow pending wider-spread acceptance of species status. It has long been suspected to be a separate evolutionary lineage due to morphological distinctness, and this is confirmed by analysis of mtDNA sequence and haplotype data. This group appears to be most closely related to the Thick-billed and/or Slate-colored Fox Sparrows. The Sooty Fox Sparrow complex varies clinally in intensity of color. The upperparts and head are a variable shade of brown with streaks on the underparts of the same color. The northernmost birds are a sandy brown while southernmost birds are a dark coffee-like color. Sooties prefer to breed in willows and alders at the edge of wet habitats.


Thicket by lake, Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC.

2 Species ID Suggestions

Hermit Thrush
Catharus guttatus Hermit Thrush
Liam 10 years ago
Sooty Fox Sparrow
Passerella iliaca unalaschcensis Sooty Fox Sparrow

Sign in to suggest organism ID


KarenL 10 years ago

Thanks Jacob!

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 10 years ago


KarenL 10 years ago

Liam & Cynthia, thank you for your help! I'm not very good with these LBJs, so I'm happy I wasn't too far off the mark this time!

Liam 10 years ago

(Sooty) Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca unalaschcensis). The arrow-shaped spots on the breast are a good field mark for Fox Sparrow. Hermit Thrushes have rufous on the tail.

Spotted by

West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Spotted on Mar 28, 2012
Submitted on Mar 29, 2012

Related Spottings

Fox Sparrow Fox Sparrow Fox Sparrow Red Fox Sparrow

Nearby Spottings

Western skunk cabbage Rubus Great Blue Heron Spotting


Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors
join Project Noah Team

Join the Project Noah Team