Five-striped Sparrow

Amphispiza quinquestriata


Diet and Foraging

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Five-striped Sparrow with prey item.

Main foods taken include insects, primarily lepidopteran larvae.

© Alex Eberts , Arizona , United States , 2 September 2017


Main Foods Taken

Insects, primarily lepidopteran larvae.

Microhabitat for Foraging

Ground or low shrubs.

Food Capture and Consumption

Forage throughout the day, hopping at a rate of 1.5 to 3.0 m/min, deliberately stopping and scanning ground and foliage, picking at items with bill. Often move alternately between ground and lower shrub or tree layer, pecking at foliage like a vireo. Occasionally plucks insects from spiderwebs; rarely hawks flying insects from a perch. Never observed to scratch in leaf litter. Swallows items whole.


Major Food Items

Caterpillars, moths, and seeds are the main items eaten by adult birds in Arizona during summer (34). Nestlings and dependent fledglings are fed almost exclusively caterpillars and grasshoppers. Adults were never observed to eat grasshoppers. Moths, ants, seeds, and the fruits of hackberry (Celtis) and Anisicanthus are also eaten. In Mexico, adults seen to catch caterpillars and moths (4), but stomach contents from 20 adults showed that predominant animal foods were adult and larval Lepidoptera. Seeds are more commonly eaten in September than in July.

Quantitative Analysis

For Arizona, see Table 1. In Mexico, stomachs of 20 adults taken in July and September 32 km east of Mazatán, Sonora, contained 66% animal matter and 34% vegetable matter (range 0–100%). Lepidopteran larvae were present in 8 of 9 stomachs in July, but in only 2 of 11 stomachs in September.

Food Selection and Storage

No information.

Nutrition and Energetics


Metabolism and Temperature Regulation


Drinking, Pellet-Casting, and Defecation

Drink regularly if water is available; if not, individuals trespass onto other territories to find water. Trespassers are tolerated.

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.