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Botteri's Sparrow

Peucaea botterii

Length: 6 inches Wingspan: 7.75 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Rather plain underparts and face, strongly streaked back, long bill, dark crown

Botteri's Sparrow - Peucaea botteriiBotteri's Sparrow is a rather plain sparrow of arid areas of Mexico, with a range that just crosses into the U.S. in the far southern tip of Texas and in southeastern Arizona.  They have also occasionally been found in southwestern New Mexico. They can be difficult to observe, usually preferring to skulk on the ground or in their preferred grassland habitat in the U.S.  They are very similar to the Cassin's Sparrow, and share some of the same habitats.  Given the difficult in observing Botteri's Sparrows, they are most often identified by song, which also readily differentiates them from Cassin's Sparrow.

Habitat: Found in dry grasslands in the United States part of its range.  In Mexico, they can also be found in arid scrublands and overgrazed range land.

Diet: Feeds mostly on insects and other invertebrates in the summer months.  Seeds are also consumed, and may make up a majority of the diet during the winter months.

Behavior: Forages by walking and hopping along the ground, picking up food items from the ground or gleaning them from low vegetation. 

Nesting: The nest of a Botteri's Sparrow is a cup of grasses, built on the ground, usually in the protection of a clump of grass or other vegetation.  The female lays 3 or 4 eggs.  Both parents help to raise the young after they hatch.

Song: The song of a Botteri's Sparrow is a series of variable, slow whistles, ending in a trill.

Migration: Considered a permanent resident throughout most of its normal range.  However, those that breed in the U.S. do typically retreat southward in the winter months.

Interactive eBird Map: Click to access an interactive eBird map of Botteri's Sparrow sightings

Similar Species: In range, most likely to be confused with Cassin's Sparrow, Brewer's Sparrow

Conservation Status: Populations are stable, they are found over a wide geographic area, and they are common in many locations.  The IUCN lists the Botteri's Sparrow as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) Maricopa Audubon Society - Botteri's Sparrow

2) Cornell's All About Birds - Botteri's Sparrow

3) New Mexico Avian Conservation Partner's - Botteri's Sparrow

Photo Information: Photo taken by Jerry Oldenettel - June 26th, 2009 - Hidalgo County, New Mexico - Photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Botteri's Sparrow - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Botteri's Sparrow Photos (Coming soon!)