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

Diet and Foraging


Little is known about diet. Feeds principally on seeds for much of the year (2, 51, 59). Like related sparrows, it compliments its diet with invertebrates during the breeding period (2), leading some authors to incorrectly define this species as insectivorous (60).


Main Foods Taken

Seeds of grasses and bunchgrasses in all seasons, and a variety of insects during the breeding period (2, 4).

Microhabitat for Foraging

Feeds on the ground (wet, moist, or dry) and up to 10–80 cm high in closely spaced bunchgrasses and other herbaceous plants (7, 2, 61, DACM). Feeds from fescues (Festuca), lupines (Lupinus; ), muhly (Muhlenbergia), and needle grasses (Stipa) (52, 51, 45, 54, 28). Insects are captured directly from the ground or from the bunchgrasses that comprise the dominant plants in their habitat (DACM).

Food Capture and Consumption

Searches for and picks up seeds and insect prey from the ground; sometimes scratches the ground to move dirt and leaves. Forages in small groups (mixed-species flocks during winter), often with one or more Striped Sparrows acting as a sentinel while perched atop a small tree or tall bush (e.g., Juniperus), while the rest of the flock forages on the ground between bunchgrasses; over time, the sentinel is relieved by another Striped Sparrow to allow it to forage with the flock (28).


No specific studies of diet.

Major Food Items

Consumes seeds from a variety of grasses and bunchgrasses, including fescues (Festuca rosei and F. tolucensis), muhly (Muhlenbergia aguascalentensis, M. macroura, and M. virescens), and needle grass (Stipa ichu), the same species that compose this species' habitat (52, 51, 45, 54, 28, DACM). Also feeds on a variety of invertebrates, including caterpillars (Lepidoptera; ), ants (Hymenoptera; ), and beetles (Coleoptera; ).

Quantitative Analysis

Marshall (52) found only seeds in stomachs of 4 adults; green plant material and insects were found in a stomach of 1 juvenile that was still being fed by adults.

Food Selection and Storage

No information.

Nutrition and Energetics

No information.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

No information.

Drinking, Pellet-Casting, and Defecation


Drinks water from any pond, puddle, or water source found in or near its habitat; individuals seem not to travel long distances looking for water (DACM).


No information on pellet-casting.


Tends to defecate in the same spots where it perches as a "sentinel", indicating much time spent in these places (52, DACM).

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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