Five-striped Sparrow

Amphispiza quinquestriata

Order:
Passeriformes
Family:
Passerellidae
Sections

Distribution, Migration, and Habitat

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Figure 1. Year-round range of the Five-striped Sparrow.
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eBird range map for Five-striped Sparrow

Generated from eBird observations (Year-Round, 1900-present)

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Figure 2. Annual cycle of breeding and molt of the Five-striped Sparrow.

Thick lines equal peak activity, thin lines off peak activity.

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Red Rock Canyon, Santa Cruz County, Arizona, near Patagonia, Arizona.

Aerial photograph of habitat and territory of a pair of Five-striped Sparrows found in 1974 and extensively studied in 1975.

© Kathy Groschupf , Arizona , United States , 15 July 1976
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Both slopes are a territory of a Five-striped Sparrow; California Gulch, Santa Cruz County, Arizona.
© Kathy Groschupf , Arizona , United States , 27 June 1991
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Steep slope on right is territory of a Five-striped Sparrow; California Gulch, Santa Cruz County, Arizona.
© Kathy Groschupf , Arizona , United States , 27 June 1991
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Five-striped Sparrow habitat; California Gulch, Santa Cruz County, Arizona.

Habitat of one location in California Gulch where Five-striped Sparrows over-wintered in Arizona.

© David Swain , Arizona , United States , 9 July 2018
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Steep slope is territory of a Five-striped Sparrow; Tonto Canyon, Santa Cruz County, Arizona.
© Kathy Groschupf , Arizona , United States , 25 August 1991
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Habitat of Five-striped Sparrow in Chino Canyon, Santa Cruz County, Arizona.
© Kathy Groschupf , Arizona , United States , 9 May 1979
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Steep slope is territory of a Five-striped Sparrow; Sycamore Canyon, Santa Cruz County, Arizona.
© Kathy Groschupf , Arizona , United States , 24 August 1991
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Steep slopes on middle, left, are Five-striped Sparrow habitat; Holden Canyon, Santa Cruz County, Arizona.
© Kathy Groschupf , Arizona , United States , 26 June 1991

Distribution in the Americas

Breeding Range

Occurs almost entirely within the Sierra Madre Occidental in northwestern and western Mexico. Northern populations occur from southeastern Arizona (Pima County and Santa Cruz County), northern Sonora, and southwestern Chihuahua, south to at least Sinaloa and western Durango. Southern populations occur in southern Nayarit, northern Jalisco, southwestern Zacatecas, and western Aguas Calientes (25, 26, 7, eBird). The first documented in the United States was in 1957 (27), with the first breeding record occurring near Patagonia, Arizona, in 1969 (28). The species has bred regularly since 1974 in isolated canyons of southeastern Arizona (29, 30). See Figure 1.

Non-Breeding Range

Similar to breeding range, but northernmost populations (southeastern Arizona and northern Sonora) could be migratory, in part. Present during at least some winters in Arizona. However, this species' secretive nature makes detection outside the breeding period difficult, so status remains uncertain.

Distribution Outside the Americas

No records.

Nature of Migration

It is not known whether birds that breed in northernmost Sonora (31) and southeastern Arizona migrate south to Mexico. Certainly, some individuals remain during winter months in Arizona (32, 33, eBird), however, the species is difficult to locate in the nonbreeding period, so it may simply go undetected.

Habitat in Breeding Range

Steep hillsides covered with dense vegetation, ranging from arid to semiarid thornscrub to tropical deciduous forest. Also observed in a few locales with little relief, yet still densely vegetated with shrubs and grasses. In Arizona, nesting occurs in canyons within a narrow range of elevation (1,060–1,220 m), with grasses and dense thornscrub vegetation 1–2 m high. Typical hillside vegetation: Acacia sp., mesquite (Prosopis sp.), Mexican kidneywood (Eysenhardtia orthocarpa), yellow trumpetbush (Tecoma stans), Thurber's desert honeysuckle (Anisacanthus thurberi), hackberry (Celtis sp.), and ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens). At higher elevations in Arizona, on north-facing hillsides are oaks (Quercus spp.) and alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana). Water present year-round in “tinajas” at the bottom of the canyons, becoming more plentiful during summer rainstorms and forming streams and large pools.

In Mexico, east of Hermosillo, Sonora, Wolf (4) found Five-striped Sparrows on hillsides dominated by tropical deciduous forest, limited to areas with a nearly closed, 3–6 m canopy composed mostly of leguminous trees; the understory was sparse in early summer, but the herb layer was 1–2 m tall in shaded areas after summer rains. At Mina Promontoria, Sierra de Alamos, Sonora (altitude 510 m), the dominant vegetation in sparrow habitat: Ficus goldmanni, Acacia sp., Stenocereus sp., and in ravines Ficus petiolaris. In Durango, areas with heavily foliaged brush, with vines and weeds covering the ground (Lamb MS, from 4).

Habitat in the Overwintering Range

As far as known, nonbreeding habitat is similar to habitat used during the breeding period.

In southeastern Arizona, individuals that remain during winter months occur singly or in small (possibly family) groups, often on breeding territories (KG). In Mexico, small loose flocks form in winter months; occasionally such flocks include up to about 40 individuals (S. Russell, personal communication).

Historical Changes to the Distribution

First documented in Arizona in 1957, the Five-striped Sparrow may have occurred historically in the U.S., found only when observers searched in appropriate habitat, or the species may have experienced a recent northern range extension.

Fossil History

Unknown.

Recommended Citation

Groschupf, K. D. (2019). Five-striped Sparrow (Amphispiza quinquestriata), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.fisspa.02