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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Rufous-crowned Sparrow -- Aimophila ruficeps

RANGE: Breeds from central California, southwestern Utah, southeastern Colorado, and central Oklahoma south into Mexico. Winters from northeastern New Mexico, northern Texas, and south-central Oklahoma south throughout the breeding range.

STATUS: Locally common.

HABITAT: Inhabits dry and desert-like habitats, preferring rocky, brushy, relatively arid hillsides with extensive bare areas. Also in rocky glades on the Great Plains; low ridges and foothills covered with scattered shrubs or trees and grass in Arizona; rocky slopes with large boulders, small cedars, and stunted oaks in Oklahoma; and grassy hillsides with scattered rocks and shrubs, especially sagebrush, and coastal scrub in California.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Rocky, arid slopes with scattered brush and grass.

NEST: Usually builds nest in a small depression on the ground, often near or under a clump of grass, or at the base of a shrub or small tree. Also locates nests up to 2 feet above ground, wedged among dense verticle growing branches in shrubs and low trees.

FOOD: During the nesting season, feeds on a variety of insects and some spiders caught while foraging on or near the ground. In other seasons, eats some seeds.

REFERENCES: Cogswell in Bent 1968b, Johnsgard 1979, Phillips in Bent 1968b, Terres 1980, Terrill in Farrand 1983c, Verner and Boss 1980.

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