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Dark-eyed Junco

Identification and Pictures

Dark-eyed JuncoThe Dark-eyed junco is a small 5 to 6 1/2 inch bird.  There are several forms of juncos.  Four North American were separate until the 1970s when they were all lumped together under Junco Hyemales.

Slate Colored Juncos are gray with white outer feathers that will flash during flight.  The male has a dark grey or blackish hood on slate gray, with a whitish belly.  Female and young ones are duller.  The young may have streaks on the breast. Most have a pale pink bill. 

Oregon junco

Oregon Juncos have rusty colored sides, and pink beaks.  Males have a black hood with a rusty back.  Females have grayer hoods with pink or browns sides.  The rusty back is not as pronounced in females.  Younger birds are streaked below and grayish.

Pink Sided juncos have darker gray hood with pink sides.

Photos by Keith Lee.  The camera I use is the Canon EOS 40D.

Sound of Dark-eyed JuncoDark-eyed Junco

The male;s song is a musical trill with a sharp tic, and twittering notes, said to sound like a ringing telephone. Calls include a nasal kew-kew, a buzy zeet, and a tick when the nest is threatened.



Dark-eyed Junco song:  Click for Sound

Preferred Habitat

Dark-eyed juncos like cool forests of mixed wood, and can bedark-eyed junco seen in undergrowth, brush, or along the road.  They range from Alaska, Canada, and U.S. They winter in much of the U.S., and north Mexico.  In winter juncos can be seen in small flocks.

Breeding and Nesting

Breeding begins in mid March to May with double or triple broods.  Breeding areas for Dark-eyed juncos are open woodland, forest edges, bogs, and mountainous regions.  They winter in woodland edges, and bushy areas.

The nest will often be on the ground, hidden in brush or behind a rock or stump.  They can also be found in tree cavities, or on building ledges.  The female usually builds the nest in a hollow.  The male may help by bringing twigs etc.  Material used is twigs, stems, fine grass, and hair.

There are usually 3 to 5 eggs incubated by the female for around 13 days.  Egg color is white, greenish or gray with speckles or blotches.  The speckles can be red-brown or purplish brown.  The young are tended by both adult birds, and are able to leave the nest in 10 to 14 days.

Food and Feeding

They like to feed on the ground, hopping around to search for seeds or insects. They will come to seed feeders.

For more on food and feeding click here.
For more on feeders click here.
To learn about other favorite birds click here.

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