Buntings and New World Sparrows (Emberizidae)

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) - HBW 16, p. 546

French: Bruant à couronne blanche German: Dachsammer Spanish: Chingolo Coroniblanco
Other common names: California White-crowned Sparrow (nuttalli); Pacific White-crowned Sparrow (pugetensis)

Taxonomy: Emberiza leucophrys J. R. Forster, 1772, Severn River, west shore of Hudson Bay, Canada.
Genus probably close to Junco. Present species perhaps most closely related to Z. atricapilla, with which it hybridizes; hybrids with Z. albicollis and Melospiza melodia also recorded. Coastal races pugetensis and nuttalli differ from others morphologically, vocally, in breeding habitat, and in migration distance; biologically they are dissimilar, and it has been suggested that they would be better treated as two separate species. In Canada, race gambelii intergrades with oriantha in SE British Columbia and with nominate in N Manitoba. Pr.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Emberiza leucophrys J. R. Forster, 1772, Severn River, west shore of Hudson Bay, Canada.
Genus probably close to Junco. Present species perhaps most closely related to Z. atricapilla, with which it hybridizes; hybrids with Z. albicollis and Melospiza melodia also recorded. Coastal races pugetensis and nuttalli differ from others morphologically, vocally, in breeding habitat, and in migration distance; biologically they are dissimilar, and it has been suggested that they would be better treated as two separate species. In Canada, race gambelii intergrades with oriantha in SE British Columbia and with nominate in N Manitoba. Proposed race aphaea (described from Idaho, presumably on migration) included within nominate. Five subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • gambelii (Nuttall, 1840) - breeds Alaska and W Canada (E to Nunavut and N Manitoba, S to S British Columbia, SW Alberta and N Saskatchewan; non-breeding quarters in S British Columbia and W USA (E to NE Kansas, S to California) and Mexico (S to Nayarit, Aguascalientes and San Luis Potosí).
  • leucophrys (J. R. Forster, 1772) - breeds in C & E Canada from N Manitoba and N Ontario E through N & NC Quebec to N Labrador and N Newfoundland; winters in S & SE USA (S from Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and North Carolina) and N Mexico (S to Sonora).
  • pugetensis Grinnell, 1928 - breeds extreme SW Canada (SW British Columbia) S along US coast to NW California; non-breeding S to SW California.

     See all 5 subspecies
  • gambelii (Nuttall, 1840) - breeds Alaska and W Canada (E to Nunavut and N Manitoba, S to S British Columbia, SW Alberta and N Saskatchewan; non-breeding quarters in S British Columbia and W USA (E to NE Kansas, S to California) and Mexico (S to Nayarit, Aguascalientes and San Luis Potosí).
  • leucophrys (J. R. Forster, 1772) - breeds in C & E Canada from N Manitoba and N Ontario E through N & NC Quebec to N Labrador and N Newfoundland; winters in S & SE USA (S from Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and North Carolina) and N Mexico (S to Sonora).
  • pugetensis Grinnell, 1928 - breeds extreme SW Canada (SW British Columbia) S along US coast to NW California; non-breeding S to SW California.
  • nuttalli Ridgway, 1899 - coastal & C California (from Mendocino County S to Santa Barbara County).
  • oriantha Oberholser, 1932 - breeds in mountains of SW Canada (SE British Columbia, S Alberta and SW Saskatchewan) and W USA (N Idaho S through SC Oregon to C & E California and SC Nevada, E to Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and CE Arizona); non-breeding SW USA (S California and S Arizona E to C Texas) and Mexico (S to S Baja California, Jalisco, Michoacán, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí and Nuevo León).