Bird of the Week, December 9, 2011
Worthen's Sparrow

Worthen's Sparrow by Antonio Hidalgo

The Worthen’s Sparrow is a trim-looking sparrow with a rufous cap, pink bill, and white eye ring. It closely resembles the Field Sparrow, a much more numerous species found throughout the middle and eastern United States.


Recent data show that the Worthen’s Sparrows are somewhat nomadic in their range, following annual rain patterns to take advantage of the best available breeding habitat. They form flocks after the breeding season that tend to congregate around permanent sources of water.


Major threats to this sparrow include habitat destruction and degradation caused by potato farming and livestock overgrazing, as well as global climate change, which is changing the annual rainfall patterns.


ABC has partnered with the Mexican conservation organization Pronatura Noreste since 2007 to work on the conservation of the Worthen’s Sparrow habitat in the El Tokio (Saltillo) grasslands of the Chihuahuan Desert. Pronatura Noreste has protected or improved management of more than 150,000 acres of grassland habitat that protect key breeding sites for the Worthen’s Sparrow and wintering habitat for many WatchList species, including the Long-billed Curlew, Mountain Plover, Baird’s Sparrow, Chestnut-collared Longspur, and Sprague's Pipit.




Photo by Antonio Hidalgo; Range Map, ABC