New York State Avian Records Committee

a committee of the New York State Ornithological Association

Gallery of New York Rarities
Harris's SparrowText and photographs by Angus Wilson

Here are five shots of an adult Harris's Sparrow (Zonotrichia querula) taken on Sunday 14th March 1999 (Figs 1 and 2) and on Sunday 11th April 1999 (Figs. 3, 4 and 5) from the side of Wainscot Hollow Road just south of Bridgehampton on the south fork of Long Island, NY. The bird was discovered the weekend before in a flock of White-crowned Sparrows (Z. leucophrys) by Valerie Freer and John Askildsen. This flock of 10 or so White-crowned Sparrows includes one adult Gambell's White-crowned Sparrow. The Harris's Sparrow was extremely nervous, rarely venturing out into the open - hence these very distant shots.

All images copyright © of Angus Wilson.


Figure 1. Rather fuzzy side view showing the facial pattern and dark spotting on the flanks. Taken on 3/14/99


Figure 2. Head on view showing distinctive black bib and bright yellow-orange bill. Although the feathers of the forehead and crown were edged in buff, the dark rather than cream colored throat, suggests this bird is an adult. Taken on 3/14/99






Figure 3. Grainy shot showing the black facial mask. Taken on 11th April 1999





Figure 4. Viewed from behind showing rump and side of head and neck. Taken on 11th April 1999


Figure 5. Adult White-crowned Sparrow on left and the Harris's Sparrow on the right. Taken on 11th April 1999are shadows. Note the dark areas on some of the undertail coverts.

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