Striped Sparrow Oriturus superciliosus Scientific name definitions

D. Alexander Carrillo Martínez, Zayra Arery Guadalupe Muñoz González, Cody Smith, David L. Slager, and Andrew J. Spencer
Version: 3.0 — Published February 9, 2024



On the ground, making small hops instead walking when foraging. Typically makes only short and low flights (2) from where it perches and sings, to its feeding and nesting places.


Preening, Head-Scratching, Stretching, Sunbathing, Bathing, Anting

Little information. Appears to preen in the same way as other sparrows.

Sleeping, Roosting

No information.

Daily Time Budget

No information.

Agonistic Behavior

Physical Interactions

No information.

Communicative Interactions

No information.

Territorial Behavior

Marshall (52: 118) suggested that the species "did not seem to have territorial boundaries," had home ranges that overlapped, and may be colonial. See Behavior: Social and Interspecific Behavior.

Sexual Behavior

Apparently monogamous (4), but no genetic studies. During courtship, the adult male glides from a high perch in front of the female with wings open and stiff, the tail remains partially erect and spread, with its chest slightly inflated and the head tilted upwards, then proceeding to chirp vigorously (37, 2, 61). Watson thought this posture (somewhat similar to the Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens)) accentuated the long tail and the rump, that is much more paler than the back (61). Courtship behavior may also involve begging and wing flicking in the presence of the opposite sex (21).

Social and Interspecific Behavior

Degree of Sociality

Generally occurs in pairs or small groups outside the breeding period (2), and has been described as social, forming loose groups (1). May be loosely colonial (4); Marshall (52: 118) suggested that home ranges overlapped and described a meadow, ~1.2 km in diameter, as occupied by a "colony" of 24 adults.


Not reported.

Nonpredatory Interspecific Interactions

Sometimes associates in mixed-species flocks with Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) (52), Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) (28), and Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) (62). Individuals have been observed perching along with Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre) and Canyon Towhee (Melozone fusca) (52).

Records of antagonistic behavior between Sierra Madre Sparrow (Xenospiza baileyi) and Striped Sparrow when competing for perch sites (63).

May compete with Yellow-eyed Junco (Junco phaeonotus) for nest sites because both species nest on the ground, often among the same genera of plants (e.g., Mulhenbergia) (DACM). There is some evidence of dominance: "where Yellow-eyed Junco is dominant, Striped Sparrow is less common, and vice versa", depending on the vegetation and habitat (51). It seems that Striped Sparrow is most associated with open habitats with only bunchgrasses, whereas Yellow-eyed Junco is more associated with bunchgrasses under forest cover (28), so interactions between these species are not common.


Kinds of Predators

No reports of predation.

Manner of Depredation

No information.

Response to Predators

Exhibits a specific response to potential predators: when foraging (see Diet and Foraging: Feeding), some individuals perch on higher vegetation and act as sentinels to look for threats. If an intruder (e.g., bird of prey, human, or medium to large-sized mammal) is present, sentinels emit an Alarm Call (see Sounds and Vocal Behavior), causing flock mates to stop foraging and fly along with the sentinels; foraging will resume after danger has passed (28, DACM).

Some mutualist observations have been made, when emitting an Alarm Call and Sierra Madre Sparrow is present, this other species responds to the Alarm Calls and both species confront the intruder or predator (63).

Recommended Citation

Carrillo Martínez, D. A., Z. A. G. Muñoz González, C. Smith, D. L. Slager, and A. J. Spencer (2024). Striped Sparrow (Oriturus superciliosus), version 3.0. In Birds of the World (B. K. Keeney and P. G. Rodewald, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.
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