Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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[Mystery bird] Black-throated Sparrow, also known (erroneously) as the Desert Sparrow, Amphispiza bilineata, photographed in Falcon State Park, Falcon Heights, Texas. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]

Image: Joseph Kennedy, 5 April 2008 [larger view].

Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope TSN-PZ camera eyepiece 1/1000s f/8.0 at 1000.0mm iso400.

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

This species has one character that sets it apart from all others this group. Can you tell me what it is?

The one character that (for me, at least) sets this species apart from all the other sparrows is its rounded tail. Can anyone out there tell me if there’s another New World sparrow that has a rounded tail?

Review all mystery birds to date.


  1. #1 Carl
    July 5, 2010

    Black-throated Sparrow.

    white supercilium and white malar are key points here. black-throat doesn’t hurt either 🙂

    thanks for the challenge

  2. #2 Pete Moulton
    July 6, 2010

    Black-throated Sparrow territories start out large, but shrink during the incubation process. The birds are also highly desert-adapted, and can live for substantial periods without drinking water, instead getting the water they need metabolically from their food.

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