Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2002-

Common name:

Clay-colored Sparrow

Scientific name: Spizella pallida
Date: 5/14/2002 and 5/15/2002
Time: 3:30pm (5/14), 10:00am (5/15)
Length of time observed: ~15 min. (5/14), ~10 min. (5/15)
Number: 1
Age: Adult Breeding
Location: Dixie Red Hills Golf Course, St. George
County: Washington
Distance to bird: 5 to 10 yards
Optical equipment: Pentax 10x42 DCF WP, Pentax 8x42 DCF WP
Weather: Sunny, hot
Light Conditions: Bright sun.
Detailed description of bird: Tan-brown crown with black streaks and white central stripe.
Distinct white supercilium and malar areas.
Tan-brown cheek with dark line along top edge and bottom edge.
Dark line between white malar area and whitish-gray throat.
Light colored bill.
Gray nape.
Tan-brown back with dark streaks.
Tan-brown rump without streaks.
Breast and underparts grayish-white with no central breast spot or streaking.
Song or call & method of delivery: Not heard.
Behavior: Feeding and hopping in grass and lower branches of trees with about 20 Chipping Sparrows.
Habitat: Grassy, treed area near small stream.
Similar species and
how were they eliminated:
Breeding plumaged Chipping Sparrows seen nearby had rufous cap, gray cheek and grayer breast than Clay-colored Sparrow.

Based on distinctive bright facial markings of the breeding plumaged Clay-colored Sparrow, there are no other birds that are similar.
Previous experience with this & similar species: Seen in nine different states and Canadian provinces since 1990. Saw several in North Dakota in 1999.
References consulted: The Sibley Guide to Birds National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America
Description from: From memory
Observer: Kathy and Joel Beyer
Observer's address: 1719 Hillcrest Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah 84106
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified
this bird:
Date prepared: 6/29/2002   (General Public)
Additional material: