6 Oct 2011

Dark-eyed and Oregon Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

The Dark-eyed Junco introduced himself to me just last year, shortly after I moved.  These birds are among the last of the migrating bird species to leave for their summer homes every year.  So it is no surprise that lately I see Dark-eyed Junco's almost everywhere I go.   The Dark-eyed Junco is a handsome bird who is slate black from the tip of his tail to the top of  his head, and over it to the throat and chest.  His belly is an off white and his bill is pink.
Dark-eyed Junco perched
This year I was surprised to learn the Dark-eyed Junco has a cousin, the Oregon Junco, who graced my backyard with his presence just recently, and caused me some momentary confusion.
Oregon Junco Female

Unfortunately the photos I managed to capture of the Oregon Junco are somewhat blurred.  However, you can still clearly see the difference between between the two birds, even though it turns out the photos I have are of a female Oregon.  The Oregon Junco male has a slate black head and the same black throat and chest.  However, his back and sides are rusty brown.

These colors are more muted in the female depicted here, fading to a slate gray as you can see.  But the female's eyes are outlined by a patch of slate black.  Like the Dark-eyed Junco, the Oregon's belly is off white and the bill is pink.

Oregon Junco
When I did some more research on the Dark-eyed Junco,  I discovered that the Oregon Junco is not his only cousin.  There are several other species, including a White-winged Junco and a Pink-sided Junco.  Needless to say, I can't wait to get the chance to view some of the other cousins.

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