Along with the more widely known sparrow species, Emerizidae includes juncos, towhees, longspurs and Emberizid buntings.
Members of the American Ornithologists' Union classification committee continue to organize and reorganize their thinking about Emberizidae based on the results of ongoing genetic studies. Therefore, any formal presentation of Emberizid species remains subject to change.
The American Birding Association's Version 7.3 checklist lists fifty-five Emberizid species, organized into nineteen genera. Multiple subspecies also receive formal recognition.
Emberizid diversity reaches its peak in two genera, the seven Spizella species (sparrows) and the nine Emberiza species (buntings).
Collectively they share physical features such as size and conical bills for cracking seeds, their food of choice.
Spring singing males draw attention wherever they perch.
The two pictures, show respectively, the White-crowned sparrow and the Golden-Crowned sparrow. The differences in head feathers provides sufficient information for field identification.
Not all sparrow specie can be as easily identified, nonetheless, many species show distinct physical features.
Species from two genera, Pipilo and Melozone, go by the common name Towhee, the Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) and the California Towhee (Melozone crissalis).
With the exception of red eyes, Spotted Towheets looks similar to the feather color and pattern on the American Robin. The picture shows a California Towhee, the more drab of the two species.
Song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) one of three Melospiza species, display slight physical variations across their North American range. Most subspecies shows streaking around the breast area along with a dull shaded bill.
Year round residents across the temperate areas, a small population also winters along the souther border area. The video shows a few different males singing.
© 2003-2013 Patricia A. Michaels