|Note gray head, streaked back, and light gular stripe
General Description: Sagebrush Sparrows (Artemisiospiza nevadensis) are small, sexually monomorphic, sparrows with a gray head, a white eyeline ahead of the eye, and a white eyering. The throat is white with a gular stripe. The breast is white and unstreaked with a dark central spot. The bill and tail are black. The back is clearly streaked.
In separating Sagebrush Sparrows from Bell's Sparrows during winter, Sagebrush Sparrows have a gray head (not brown), a well-streaked back (not faintly streaked or unstreaked), and the gular stripe is light (not heavy).
Taxonomy: Passeriformes, Emberizidae. Formerly Amphispiza belli. The species recently has been split to two species: Sagebrush Sparrow (Artemisiospiza nevadensis) and Bell's Sparrow (Artemisiospiza belli).
Residency: Winter visitor.
Favored Habitat: Open desert with shrubs. Generally speaking, Sagebrush Sparrows breed in sagebrush areas (the Great Basin), while Bell's Sparrow breed in more southerly areas (Mojave Desert, southern California, and coastal California). Both species winter in the deserts around Las Vegas.
Where to Find: Red Rock Canyon NCA, Corn Creek on the Desert National Wildlife Range. They are also quite common in the Arrow Canyon Range. Check the saltbrush flats along the access road to Corn Creek during winter.
Comments: Sagebrush Sparrows tend to run on the ground hiding behind bushes, and when running, they hold their tail cocked upward like a Northern Mockingbird. Sometimes Sage Sparrows can be found alone, but usually there are found in small flocks where they constantly squabble and chatter among themselves.