27 February, 2011

Yellow-eyed Junco

Scientific Name: Junco phaeonotus

Population Estimate: 20M

Range / Habitat: Year-round through the southwestern US and throughout Mexico. Preferred habitat is high altitude grassland, shrubland, and forest.

Field Notes: Distinctive plumage as above. Typical Junco behavior: found in groups foraging on the ground then will make a hasty retreat to higher perches. Distinctive fan-like tail in flight with white-flashes on the sides. There are similar-colored variations of Dark-eyed Junco, but the eye color is determinant. Also, per Sibley, the dark-eyed varieties hop on the ground whereas the yellow-eyed birds walk.

Personal Notes: We were more than happy to take a break from summiting Xinantecatl in central Mexico to observe these birds.

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