Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata) 20 December 2011. Esparto, YOL, CA Photos © 2011 Joseph Morlan
This species is very rare in the Northern California Central Valley where most of the records are of young birds which lack the black throat. Unlike most sparrows, the juvenal plumage is retained through the fall and winter and those young birds lack the black throat of the adults.
This adult has been present at this rural site since its discovery on 21 October by Steve Hampton. This is the second record of Black-throated Sparrow in Yolo County. The only previous county record is a bird found Nov 9, 1997 along the East Toe Drain of the Yolo Bypass.
The species ranges in arid areas, locally as far north as interior Washington State. The most northerly populations are migratory while more southern populations are largely resident.
Nine or ten subspecies range from the SW United States through central Mexico and adjacent islands. This is presumably A. b. deserticola which is found through most of the Great Basin and the far Western US. It is sometimes called the "Desert Sparrow" and is more brownish and less grayish above than other subspecies, particularly on the back and scapulars.
Digiscoped with Panasonic DMC-LZ5 | Nikon FieldScope III | 30XWA |hand-held (no adapter)