Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Nicky Davis
Photo Copyright Nicky Davis

The black-chinned sparrow, Spizella atrogularis, ranges from northern California and southern Utah to central Mexico. It is uncommon in summer across southern Utah, breeding primarily in the southwestern corner of the state in Washington County. Utah populations migrate south out of the state in winter, but in some parts of its range this species is nonmigratory. In Utah, the black-chinned sparrow inhabits arid brushlands, such as sagebrush and chaparral, at lower elevations on rugged mountain slopes. Migratory populations utilize similar habitats, but often at even lower elevations. During the breeding season this species consumes mainly adult and larval insects; in winter it eats mainly seeds.

The nest is usually placed one to three feet above the ground in the center of a dense shrub, often sagebrush. The two to five eggs are incubated by the female for about twelve to thirteen days before hatching. Nestlings are tended by both parents, but the time from hatching to fledging is not known.


  • Tenney, C. R. 1997. Black-chinned sparrow. Birds of North America 270: 1–19.

  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder’s handbook[:] a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster, New York. xxx + 785 pp.