adult in breeding plumage; brown cheek patch (Arizona, USA; 2012-04-27)

Clay-colored Sparrow
Spizella pallida

Native Range: North America

Notes: very similar and closely related to Chipping Sparrow, these two species sometimes forming mixed flocks in winter; told with difficulty from Chipping Sparrow by subtly cleaner gray nape, buffy breastband, brown face patch, browner rump, and pale lores; like Chipping Sparrow typically feeds on the ground; no sexual dimorphism.

nonbreeder; much like Chipping Sparrow (California, USA; 2006-12-22)

dorsal view; brown rump (Arizona, USA; 2012-04-27)

posing for a portrait; note the distict face patch (Arizona, USA; 2012-04-27)