The Common Yellowthroat male has a distinctive black mask with a white border at the top and a bright yellow throat that extends into its breast. It is yellow below to the undertail coverts, with a solid olive back.
The Black-tailed Gnatcatcher is a small, non-migratory often mistaken for a chickadee. This bird measures only 5″ inches in length, and can be found year round on both coasts of California and as far north as Washington state; they can also be found all along the West Coast of North America.
Male House Sparrows are brightly colored birds with gray heads, white cheeks, a black bib, and rufous neck – although in cities you may see some that are dull and grubby.
The blackcap is a grey warbler, easily identified by its distinctive cap. Males have black caps (as the name suggests), while the female’s cap is chestnut brown. Juvenile males also have a brown cap. They have thin, dark-coloured beaks and brownish-grey wings.
Measurements. Juncos vary across the country (see Regional Differences), but in general they’re dark gray or brown birds brightened up by a pink bill and white outer tail feathers that periodically flash open, particularly in flight. Dark-eyed Juncos are birds of the ground.
Small, nondescript brown bird with a short tail, thin bill, and dark barring on wings and tail with a paler throat.
Dickcissel. Dickcissel are small-sized bird from the sparrow family, that can be found in fields, grasslands and prairies throughout North America, migrating from Central America during the winter months.
Adult male Bufflehead have a white body, black back, and a dark head with a large white patch that wraps around the back of the head.
Comparing a Sparrow and a Wren
|Bill shape||Broader than a wren.|
|Tail length||Short, but longer than a wren.|
Cedar Waxwings are pale brown on the head and chest fading to soft gray on the wings. The belly is pale yellow, and the tail is gray with a bright yellow tip. The face has a narrow black mask neatly outlined in white. The red waxy tips to the wing feathers are not always easy to see.
Some birds– like many species of shrike– have evolved a dark feather “mask”, or eye-stripe, which scientists believe help reduce the sun’s glare when the bird is hunting or foraging. Football players wear “eye-black” to reduce sunlight and stadium light glare in the same way.
Measurements. Soft silvery gray above and white below, with a rusty or peach-colored wash down the flanks. A black patch just above the bill makes the bird look snub-nosed. Tufted Titmice are acrobatic foragers, if a bit slower and more methodical than chickadees.
Carolina Chickadees have a longer tail, a smaller bill, and are less compact than nuthatches. They also don’t climb up and down tree trunks the way nuthatches do.
The cap and bib are black, the cheeks white, the back soft gray, the wing feathers gray edged with white, and the underparts soft buffy on the sides grading to white beneath. The cap extends down just beyond the black eyes, making the small eyes tricky to see.
Chickadees: With a quick glance, chickadees can resemble either finches or sparrows, but their plumage is more pied than either bird family, and they are far more energetic and acrobatic. They travel in larger flocks and have bold facial markings that set them apart.
Tiny, approachable bird with a short neck and large head, giving it a distinctive spherical body shape. Stark white cheeks contrast with black cap and throat. Note grayish nape or collar and grayish edging on secondaries.
The sparrowhawk has rounded wings and a relatively long, narrow tail. Males are small with a blue-grey back and white underparts showing reddish-orange barring. Females are much larger, with browner plumage above and grey bars below. They both have reddish cheeks.
Although the two birds look very similar to one another, they come from different families. The house finch comes from the Fringillidae family. However, the house sparrow comes from the Passeridae family.
* Finches have shorter legs than sparrows, and their legs are often dark gray; sparrows have longer legs, which are often pale pinkish. * Finches are plainer, less patterned; sparrows have more varied and intricate patterns.