Dark-eyed junco

Dark-eyed junco
Junco hyemalis
(Photo by from Wikipedia)

Common name:
dark-eyed junco (en); junco-de-olho-escuro (pt); junco ardoisé (fr); junco ojioscuro (es); junko (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

This species is found breeding throughout Canada, Alaska, the north-eastern united States and the western United States. The northern population migrate south to winter throughout the United States and northern Mexico.

These birds are 14-16 cm long and have a wingspan of 18-25 cm. They weigh 18-30 g.

Dark-eyed juncos breed in coniferous forests including pine, Douglas-fir, spruce, and fir, but also in deciduous forests such as aspen, cottonwood, oak, maple, and hickory, from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m. During winter and on migration they use a wider variety of habitats including open woodlands, fields, roadsides, parks, and gardens.

They mostly eat the seeds of weeds such as chickweed, buckwheat, lamb’s quarters, sorrel, but will also eat wild fruits and arthropods, especially during the breeding season, when they are known to take beetles, moths, butterflies, caterpillars, ants, wasps, flies and spiders.

Dark-eyed juncos breed in April-August. The female builds the nest, a cup-shaped depression on the ground, lined with grasses, pine needles and hair. There she lays 3-6 white, grey or bluish-white eggs with brown speckles, which she incubates alone for 12-13 days. The chicks fledge 10-14 days after hatching. Each pair raises 2 broods per season.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population of 260 million individuals. The populations has had a stable trend over the last 4 decades.

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