White-eared Ground-Sparrow Melozone leucotis

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Passerellidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors needed...

The White-eared Ground-Sparrow is a spectacular looking bird, one of those species which looks much fancier and gorgeous in real life than the field guide illustrations lead you to believe. The face pattern is rather complicated. For the most part the head is black, but it is accented by several patches of white; lores which are white, eye crescents that are white, and a large white ear patch. The sides of the neck are brilliant yellow, contrasting strongly with the black of the head. The body is dark grey, with blackish throat as well as the breast and slightly more olive wings and tail. There is some noticeable amount of geographic variation with northern birds showing a partial yellow supercilium, and the black on the breast is isolated from the black of the throat. This ground sparrow is found from southern Mexico through much of Central America to northern Costa Rica, in intermediate elevations between 500 and 2000m. It forages on the ground in pairs or as singles at the edge of forest. It tends to take slightly moister areas than the Prevost’s Ground-Sparrow. The nest is placed on the ground or near the ground, with a clutch size of two eggs which are whitish with brown blotching.

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© David L. Ross, Jr.

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

White-eared Ground-Sparrow (Melozone leucotis), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/wegspa1