Five-striped Sparrow

five striped sparrow
Credit: Christoph Moning

Five-striped Sparrows are easily identified by the five vertical, black, and white stripes on their throats. They have a white eyebrow and white outline on their eyes. Their bodies are generally gray, so these stripes really stand out. 

They even have a black spot on their gray chest. Their backs are plain brown. Males and females have the same colorings, but juveniles have pale colors, and the five stripes are less defined. 

  • Amphispiza quinquestriata
  • Length: 15 cm (6 in)
  • Weight: 20 g (0.7 oz)
  • Wingspan: 23 cm (9 in)


Five-striped Sparrows have a small range in northern Mexico and just across the US border.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Five-striped Sparrows amidst rocky hillsides, steep brushy slopes, thorn forests, and dry open woods. They favor areas with mesquite, acacia, hackberry, and ocotillo. Males love to perform their songs on the stems of the ocotillo.

Five-striped Sparrows love to eat insects during the summer. They forage for food on the ground or around bushes and feast on grasshoppers, caterpillars, ants, moths, and other insects. They also love to eat seeds and berries. Unlike other sparrows, they don’t usually try to capture insects in the air. 

Five-striped Sparrow Song:


Nests of Five-striped sparrows are often found up to five inches above the ground, nestled in a clump of grass or a low shrub. The female builds the nest out of grass and animal hair while the male sings persistently as a way to ward off predators.

Females lay up to four eggs, and they hatch after about thirteen days. The young leave the nest around nine days after hatching, even though they’re only able to make short flights. 

Fun Fact:

Five-striped Sparrows were an unknown species until the late 1950s, when they were discovered nesting in several areas in Arizona.