Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis) are very common sparrows found throughout the US and most of North America, often in the winter. Dark-eyed Juncos show great regional variation in their appearance, and the different forms are colored in various combinations of black, white, gray, brown, and rust depending on where they are found. I observed this Gray-headed form of Dark-eyed Junco in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeast Arizona during my trip there in March.
Despite the deceptive sunshine that day, the weather was wintry, and it was snowing lightly as I took these photos. I had tossed out some birdseed and had managed to attract a few of the hardier winter birds like this Dark-eyed Junco.
The Gray-headed form of Dark-eyed Junco is gray with black around the eyes and a rust-colored back.
This form is similar to the Red-backed form of Dark-eyed Junco, but the Gray-headed form has a solid pinkish bill, while the beak of the Red-backed form has a black upper mandible. The Gray-headed form of Dark-eyed Junco is also similar to another species of junco found here, the Yellow-eyed Junco (Junco phaeonotus), but as their common names indicate, the eyes of Dark-eyed Juncos are dark, while those of Yellow-eyed Juncos are yellow. The uncommon Black-chinned Sparrows (Spizella atrogularis) are also quite similar, but they have a streaked back and brown wings.
Since Dark-eyed Juncos are only seen during the winter in much of the US and can often be seen out cheerfully hopping around in the snow, they are commonly called "snowbirds". Here in Arizona, "snowbirds" are also people, usually retirees, from the northern US who spend their winters here in the warmer parts of Arizona to get away from the snow. The Chiricahua Mountains here in Arizona are beautiful, but they are definitely not a good place to get away from the snow.