Yellow-eyed Junco Junco phaeonotus

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Passerellidae
  • Polytypic: 4 subspecies
  • Authors needed...
  • © Oleg Chernyshov

The Yellow-eyed Junco ranges from Arizona in the United States south through the mountains of Mexico to Guatemala. Geographic variation in this species is not nearly as marked as in the Dark-eyed Junco but it is still present. Yellow-eyed Juncos are grayish, including their underparts and show yellow eyes; like the Dark-eyed Juncos they have white outer tail feathers which show up in flight. What is curious is that in the vast variation shown by the Dark-eyed Juncos, the geographically closest forms, particularly the Red-backed Junco looks surprisingly similar to the Yellow-eyed save for some small details in plumage and the difference in eye color. On the other hand these very similar looking forms are genetically quite different. The Yellow-eyed Junco is found in montane forests, largely in Mexico and both in the Sierra Madre Oriental, and Occidental. There is an isolated form, sometimes known as the “Guatemala Junco” in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico and Guatemala. While the pattern of this junco is similar to the more northern form, it is brownish on the back, not rusty, and is larger in size. The song of this junco is much more melodious and interesting than that of its northern relative, there are several sweet introductory notes and then short trills or warbling notes “swee swee teedle teedle teedle” is one version, much more elaborate than the classic junco trill of the northern species.

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© Geoffrey A. Keller

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

Recommended Citation

Yellow-eyed Junco (Junco phaeonotus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: