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Dark-Eyed Junco

Scientific Name:

Junco hyemalis




During breeding season, dark-eyed juncos can be found in coniferous and mixed deciduous forests, then migrating into backyards, parks, and fields during the winter


One of the most common birds in North America


Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


Dark-eyed juncos are medium-sized sparrows, about 5.5 to 6 inches in length. Their color patterns can vary regionally: dark-eyed juncos living in the east sporting slate gray with white tail feathers while the western juncos are commonly a reddish brown color with a dark head. It was once thought these were two different species, but they are not and you can find color variations throughout North America. Dark-eyed juncos are ground feeders and can often be seen hopping as they forage for food.They may visit backyard bird feeders, but prefer the millet on the ground.

Fast Facts:

  • The diet of dark-eyed juncos includes a variety of seeds with a few insects (including caterpillars, ants, beetles and wasps) added especially during breeding season.

  • Nests can be quite variable in structure, although most of the time the nests are on the ground. Female dark-eyed juncos will spend several days building a nest hidden in the grass or under a log, or in the cities even under a building.



Regina Hockett (research & content)

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Last Updated:

March 27, 2024 at 1:48:23 AM

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