Lark Sparrow

This May, while walking through a riparian area along the Tanque Verde Wash here in Tucson, I startled a flock of Lark Sparrows (Chondestes grammacus) that had been foraging for seeds and insects on the ground. The Lark Sparrows scattered into the trees, and one of them conveniently flew into the tree next to me, allowing me to get a photograph.

Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)

For a sparrow, Lark Sparrows are quite attractive and can be recognized by the distinctive pattern of white (or buff), chestnut, and black on their heads and by the dark patch in the center of the breast.

Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)

Even with their bold head patterns, Lark Sparrows still somehow manage to blend in quite well with the leaf litter. Of course, they are still easy to spot because these active, flocking birds are usually on the move and are often found in open areas.