One of the most common winter sparrows, the white-crowned typically occurs in flocks, which may involve more than 100 birds. They feed in short grass or open areas adjacent to woodlands, hedgerows, or brush piles. They may pop out in response to pishing and raise their crown feathers when agitated. Polytypic. Length 7".
For bill color, see sidebar below; whitish throat; brownish upperparts; mostly pale gray underparts. Adult: black-and-white striped crown. Immature: tan and brownish head stripes. Juvenile: Brown and buff head; streaked underparts.
The white-crowned sparrow is divided into 3 well-defined subspecies groups: "dark-lored" (Rocky Mountain oriantha and eastern leucophrys), "pacific" (northern pugetensis and southern nuttalli), and "Gambel's" (western gambelli). Individual subspecies are often not identifiable in the field. The region