[CT Birds] on White-throated Sparrows

charles barnard jr chbarnjr at gmail.com
Sun Mar 25 21:53:19 EDT 2012

I don't mean to extend the conversation about White-throated Sparrows
beyond the point of usefulness, but I thought that some might find it of
interest to learn that the White-throated Sparrows which we see occur in 2
different morphs. The birds with very bright, contrasting black and white
heads and the more dingy looking birds with duller looking black and tan
striped heads. The White-striped  (ws) morph has a sligthly grayish chest
and the Tan-striped (ts) morph can have faint streaking on the chest. These
are not differences in plumage caused by season or sex - they are 2
distinct morphs. Both morphs are a bit duller in winter, but they can still
normally be identified as to morph in winter.

Further, according to the information contained in Birds of North America
Online, mated pairs almost always consist of a White-striped morph and a
Tan-striped morph. There are also behavioral differences between the
morphs, according to the research information contained in Birds of North
America Online. One of the curious facts mentioned was that females of the
White-striped morph sing, while the Tan-striped females are not known to
sing. White-striped males are also far more aggressive than Tan-striped
males, but care less for the young than the Tan-striped males do.

As Mark noted, they do nest in Connecticut.  Last year there was a singing
White-throated Sparrow along a power line cut in Shelton on June 1. I don't
know if that bird was a late migrant or a possible nester though.

Charlie Barnard Jr

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