Bell's Sparrow, Artimisiospiza belli
In my area, Bell's Sparrows are regular but scarce and very hard to find, as they nest
in the chaparral on the higher slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains, habitat similar
to that of the Black-chinned Sparrow. These two pictures were taken five years
apart in the same place, the heights of Skyline Ridge, which has great views of
both San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The picture above, with the bird
seen from the front in shade, makes it look all gray; the one below, with the bird
seen from behind in full sun, makes it look mostly brown with a brownish-gray
head. In fact, the two birds looked pretty much alike. I'm looking forward to getting
a better picture of one of these birds some day.
Sage Sparrow was split into two species, Bell's and Sagebrush Sparrows, in 2013;
they were assigned to a new genus, Artimisiospiza. I don't have any pictures of the Sagebrush
species, which is mostly found in the sage deserts of the Great Basin, whereas Bell's is
mostly a bird of the chaparral.