Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Red-backed Junco

Also at the feeders at the Randall Davey Audubon Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in March 2014 were several Gray-headed Juncos. Currently ornithologists recognize 15 races of the Dark-eyed Junco, including this one. These races used to be considered to be six species, but they interbreed where their ranges overlap (Nolan et al. 2002).

Gray-headed Juncos breed from southern Idaho and Wyoming south to southern Nevada and eastern California east to northern New Mexico and western Texas into northern Mexico.  Gray-headed Juncos differ from Red-backed Juncos, the race found in southern Arizona and New Mexico, in having both mandibles pale, rather than the upper mandible dark.

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