Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Black-throated sparrow
Amphispiza bilineata

 

Taxonomy
Occurence in Illinois
Status
Habitat associations
Guilds
Food-habits
Environmental associations
Life history
Management practices
References


TAXONOMY

 

  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Emberizidae
  • Genus: Amphispiza
  • Species: Amphispiza bilineata
  • Authority: Cassin

Comments on taxonomy:
Recorded Emberiza bilineata by Cassin, 1850, proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia; Amphispiza recorded by Cones, 1874, birds northwest (misc. publ. U.S. Geol. Surv. Terr.) *02*. Bent mentions 7 subspecies: A.b. bilineata, opuntia, deserticola, belviderei, bangsi, tortugae, carmenae *05*. Other names: black-throat; desert black- throated sparrow, desert sparrow *06*.

 


OCCURENCE IN ILLINOIS

Very rare vagrant; 3 records: Winnebago co., 1960; Cook co., 1948; Cook co., 1961 *01*.

 


STATUS

Items in bold indicate applicable categories
Forest Service Categories: S = recommended for regional sensitive status, F = forest listed species, M = management indicator species

Federal Status:

Endangered Threatened Proposed for listing
Candidate for proposal Recovery plan approved Recovery plan received (USFWS)
Recovery plan in preparation Under notice of review Delisted
Migratory EPA indicator Forest Serv.- Shawnee species

State Status:

Endangered Threatened Proposed

Other:

Game Furbearer Nongame protected
Sportfish Commercial Pest None of the above

Comments on status:
The black-throated sparrow is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 *03* and the Illinois wildlife code of 1972 *04*.

 


HABITAT ASSOCIATIONS

Items in bold indicate applicable categories

General habitat:

Unknown Terrestrial Aquatic Riparian

USFS timber inventory forest size class:

Unknown Unstocked Seedling Sapling
Seedling/sapling Pole Mature Over mature

Land use and land cover:

Unknown   Urban Residential
Commercial
Industrial
Transportation, communication
Complex industrial/commercial
Mixed
Other
Agricultural Crop, pasture
Orchards, groves, nurseries
Feedlot
Other
Rangeland Herbaceous
Shrub and brush
Mixed
Forestland Deciduous
Evergreen
Mixed
Water Stream
Lake
Reservoir
Bay
Wetland Forest
Non-forest
Barren Salt flat
Beach
Sand
Rock
Mine
Transit
Mix

 


Forest cover types: No records.

Associated tree species: No records.

National wetland inventory classifications: No records.

Comments on species-habitat associations:
The black-throated sparrow frequents the hottest, driest parts of desert uplands, creosote bush and desert scrub environments that are sparsely vegetated, strongly insulated desert terrain, either steeply sloped or essentially flat *05,06*.

Important plant and animal association: Especially associated with creosote bush and cholla cactus environments *05*.

High value habitats: No records.

Species-habitat interrelations:
The black-throated sparrow inhabits the hottest, driest desert uplands, creosote bush and desert scrub enviroments; sparsely vegetated, strongly insolated desert terrain; steeply sloped or essentially flat *05*. Most favored are desert uplands, alluvial fans, and hill slopes, usually with much exposed rock and gravel pavement *05*. Associated plant species include: creosote bush and cholla cactus; other species; catclaw, small mesquite, artemisia, sages, rabbit-brush, and purshia *05*; dwarf juniper, yucca, agave, sagebrush *06*.

 


GUILDS

 

Feed-guilding:

HabitatStructural stageSeasonBreed-Guilds
Not applicable (cover types)     Terrestrial surface-flowers and fruits of grass/grasslike vegetation
Terrestrial surface - leaves flowers, fruits, seeds of deciduous shrubs
Terrestrial surface - arthropods
Air - arthropods
Shrub strata - arthropods

Comments on feed-guilding:
Forages on ground picking at seeds and insects; occasionally catches insects in air *05*. Also may occasionally forage in low trees or bushes for insects *05*.

Breed-guilding:

HabitatStructural stageSeasonFeed-guilds
Not applicable (cover types)     Shrub strata, canopy of broad-leaved deciduous shrubs
Shrub strata, canopy of broad-leaved evergreen shrubs
Shrub strata, canopy of needle-leaved evergreen shrubs

Comments on breed-guilding:
Nests a few feet from the ground in forking branches of small bushes, thorny shrubs, and junipers *06*.

 


FOOD-HABITS

Trophic level is OMNIVORE

Food itemLife stage/plant part
Plants Leaves/needles, fruit/seeds
Angiospermae (flowering plants) Fruit/seeds
Poaceae (grass) Leaves
Insecta Unknown
Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches) See comments
Important:
Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches) See comments
Juvenile:
Insecta Unknown
Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches) See comments
Adult:
Plants Leaves/needles, fruit/seeds
Angiospermae (flowering plants) Fruit/seeds
Poaceae (grass) Leaves
Insecta Unknown
Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches) See comments

Comments on food habits: 
General: The black-throated sparrow is omnivorous eating seeds during winter months and insects during breeding season; eats many flying insects; also eats grasses and herbs. Gravel also consumed *05,06*. The diet of insects allows birds to be free from water throughout breeding season *05*.
Juvenile:Young are fed insects; particularly grasshopper abdomens *05*.
Adult: See [FH].


ENVIRONMENTAL ASSOCIATIONS

General:

  • Ground cover- preferred species of shrub (%): see comments

Breeding adult:

  • Ground cover- preferred species of shrub (%): see comments

Comments on environmental associations:
General: Inhabits hottest, driest parts of desert uplands; places where creosote, cholla cactus and sagebrush grow. sparsely vegetated, insolated desert terrain, steeply sloped or essentially flat; most favored are desert uplands, alluvial fans, and hill slopes, usually with much exposed rock or gravel *05*.
Feeding adult: Forages in desert environments in general; beneath bushes. Occasionally catches insects in air *05*. Also occasionally feeds in shrubs for insects *05*.
Breeding adult: Nests in desert environments in forking branches of small bushes, thorny shrubs, junipers *06*. Creosote bushes and cholla cactus strongly associated with nesting *05*.


LIFE HISTORY

Origin: Native *01*.

Physical description: 4 3/4-5 1/4 inches long; sexes outwardly similar; jet black throat, grey unstreaked back; white facial stripes on grey head; immature has facial stripes but is finely streaked on throat (instead of black throat); no wing bars; black rounded tail with white on outer tail feathers helps distinguish it *06*.

Reproduction: Does not breed in Illinois; breeds from no. Calif. n. Nev., n. Utah, sw. Wyo. s. and w. Colo, nw. Okla., and n-c Tex. south through desert areas to s. Baja, Calif. and into Mexico *06*. In Calif. song and pair formation begin in Feb. *05*. Nesting occurs from March through mid August; nest usually built from April to June; is well concealed in forking branches of small bushes, thorny shrub; a few feet from the ground *06*. Nest is a loosely built cup of grasses, weed stems, lined with plant fibers, rabbit fur, cow hair, wool *05,06*. Eggs laid from April - Aug.; 3-4; white, pale blue, unmarked; av. 17.3-13.8 mm. *05*. Incubation period and age when young fledge are unreported *05*.

Behavior: The black-throated sparrow is partly migratory and many birds are found in the southern portion of their breeding range throughout winter; frequently winters in mixed flocks *05*. At some seasons, apparently breeding season, this species is independent of a water source; derives water from food eaten *05,06*.

Limiting factors: Enemies include snakes, coyotes, lynx, and other ground predators *05*. May be in competition with sage sparrow; both nest in same areas with same requirements *05*.

Population parameters: Unreported.

 


MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

Beneficial:

  • Maintaining undisturbed/undeveloped areas
  • Controlling land use and human activities
  • Controlling pollution

Adverse:

  • Recreational development
  • Applying pesticide on agricultural land
  • Applying pesticides
  • Application of pesticides

Comments on management practices:
No comments.

 


REFERENCES

0. MALMBORG, P.L. 1986. ILL. NAT. HIST. SURV., 607 E. PEABODY DR., CHAMPAIGN, IL. 61820. (217)333-6846.

1. BOHLEN, H. 1978. AN ANNOTATED CHECK-LIST OF THE BIRDS OF ILLINOIS. ILLINOIS STATE MUS. POP. SCI. SER., VOL. IX. 156 P.

2. AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION. 1984. CHECK-LIST OF NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS. 6TH EDITION. ALLEN PRESS, INC. LAWRENCE KS. 877 P.

3. U.S. FISH WILDLIFE SERVICE. 1983. CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS. TITLE 50. WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES. CHAPTER 1. PP. 11-18. 50 CFR 10.13. LIST OF MIGRATORY BIRDS. SPECIAL PUBL. FEDERAL REGISTER. GENERAL SERVICES ADMIN. OCTOBER 1.

4. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION. 1980. CONSERVATION LAWS. CH. 61. WILDLIFE. ART. II. PAR. 2.2. REPRINTED FROM ILLINOIS REVISED STATUTES 1979. WEST PUBL. CO., ST. PAUL, MN. 123 PP.

5. BENT, A.C. 1968. LIFE HISTORIES OF NORTH AMERICAN CARDINALS, GROSBEAKS, BUNTINGS, TOWHEES, FINCHES, SPARROWS, AND ALLIES. U.S. NATL. MUS. BULL. NO. 237. PT. 2. XI + 646 P. + 40 PL.

6. TERRES, J. 1980. AUDUBON SOCIETY: ENCYCLOPEDIA OF NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS. ALFRED KNOPF, NEW YORK. 1109 P.

 


 

Next ---- Previous



Illinois Natural History Survey

1816 South Oak Street, MC 652
Champaign, IL 61820
217-333-6880
cms@inhs.illinois.edu

Terms of use. Email the Web Administrator with questions or comments.

© 2019 University of Illinois Board of Trustees. All rights reserved.
For permissions information, contact the Illinois Natural History Survey.

Staff Intranet
Login