Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Robert T. Maytum
Photo Courtesy of Robert T. Maytum

The rufous-crowned sparrow, Aimophila ruficeps, occurs in southwestern North America from western Arkansas to central California, south through Mexico. This sparrow is associated with dry, rocky hillsides where brush is scattered. It feeds on insects, seeds, and plant shoots.

The nesting biology of this bird is not well known. The timing of nesting is variable, often coinciding with rainy periods, when food is most abundant. Nests are constructed of grass and hair, usually on the ground hidden among rocks and vegetation, and typically three or four eggs are laid. Females incubate the eggs, but the incubation period is not known. The young fledge after about nine days. Adults may produce two broods per year. Nesting is rare in Utah, being reported only in Zion National Park and near Virgin. During winter, this sparrow does not typically migrate south, nor does it form large flocks as many other sparrows do.


  • Rising, J. D., and D. D. Beadle. 1996. A guide to the identification and natural history of the sparrows of the United States and Canada. Academic Press, San Diego. xii + 365 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.