The Dark-Eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) is a bird in the Passerellidae family of sparrows. It is a song bird. It was formerly known as the Snowbird and the Slate-Coloured Junco.
The Dark-Eyed Junco is small and greyish. It has a grey head, neck, chest, back, and wings. Its belly is white. Its white outer tail feathers are distinctive. It has a small, pale pinkish beak and dark, round eyes. The male is usually darker than the female. The female has a brownish-grey to reddish-brown side feathers.
The Dark-Eyed Junco grows to 13-18 centimetres (5-7 inches) tall.
It lives in the temperate zones of North America. It migrates south to warmer locations in winter, but some populations are residential (and stay in the one location throughout winter).
It likes forests with conifer trees, as well as grasslands, parks, farming areas, and areas close to people’s homes. In the breeding season, it likes mountainous areas. It is seen from October to mid-April.
It hops along the ground when foraging for food, usually in flocks. It eats seeds and insects.
The female makes a cup-shaped nest, or depression, on the ground in a hidden spot, or in lower branches of trees. The nest is lined with grass, moss, and hair.
She usually lays 4 eggs, which hatch after 12-13 days. The young leave the nest 11-14 days after hatching. Juveniles often have pale streaks in their head, back, and chest feathers until they gain their adult plumage after 60-90 days.
Location of photographs: Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America
Photographer: Michael Catalano
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM