Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2005-24

Common name:

Clay-colored Sparrow

Scientific name: Spizella pallida
Date: 9-26-04
Time: 9:00 AM
Length of time observed: 30:00 Minutes or so
Number: 2
Age: Probably 1st fall
Location: Lytle Ranch
County: Washington
Distance to bird: Within 20 feet
Optical equipment: 10X42 B & L Elites
Weather: Sunny skies no wind
Light Conditions: Good
Description:        Size of bird: Small Sparrow sized
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Sparrow
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Brown
(Description:)            Bill Type: Short conical seed eating bill
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
The crown was brown with a distinct pale central stripe. The birds had pale lores that continued into a contrasting pale buff looking supercilium that went around to the nape. The ear coverts of
the birds were brown and were outlined by a thin dark line. There was a contrasting whitish sub-moustachial stripe that went around and connected with clean gray on the sides of the neck and nape. The birds had dark contrasting malar stripes and their throats looked grayish white. The
backs were brown with dark steaks. The upper breast and sides were buffy and I could just see a few streaks on both birds. The streaking was easier to see on one of the birds. The belly was whitish.The wings were brownish with faint buffy wingbars. The tail was long and notched. The
bills were pinkish with the top of the upper mandible black looking.  (see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None heard.
Behavior: Feeding on the ground with a flock of Sparrows mostly Chipping.
Habitat: Orchard in the middle of desert scrub habitat.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Both birds were more brownish below and had very contrasting head patterns compared to the Brewer's and Chipping that were in the same flock. Their central crown stripes really stood
out which made them pretty easy to pick out.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen a lot of all 3 of the similar looking Spizella Sparrows in the fall.
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Larry Tripp
Observer's address: 131 N. Butch Cassidy
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Several other birders saw one or both of these birds.
Date prepared: 8-1-05
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: Both of these birds were very similar in apperance. Other than 1 of them seemed to have more noticable streaks. The Photos I think have both birds in them but I'm not sure. The photos aren't
that great and the birds kept moving around so it was had to be sure which one I was shooting. I should have written the birds up seperately but because of how long it has taken me to do it I just did them togeather.