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Golden-crowned sparrow (male in breeding plumage)

Zonotrichia atricapilla


The Golden-crowned Sparrow has bright breeding plumage with a bright yellow crown flanked with bold, black bars. The yellow extends to the nape of the neck and then changes to whitish; the black covers the top half of the eye. The back is light brown with bold stripes. The rump is unstreaked and brownish-gray, with the color extending through the long tail. The wings are brightly patterned with two white wing-bars. The breast and belly are not streaked.


Spotted in backyard thicket. Found in the western part of North America.


During the winter they eat the seeds of grasses and weeds, and they may visit birdfeeders. They will also eat buds, flowers, new shoots, and berries. During the summer, insects become a major food source, especially for the young.

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Brian38 3 years ago

Thanks for your kind words Neil. They are certainly unique for sparrows.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 3 years ago

Beautiful spotting, Brian. I guess when I think of sparrows, it's usually of the grey and brown varieties. I had no idea there were colourful ones like this little guy. Very nice.

Spotted by

Federal Way, Washington, USA

Spotted on May 2, 2018
Submitted on Dec 1, 2018

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