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Overview of Rufous-winged Sparrow (Aimophila Carpalis)

The Rufous- winged Sparrow (Aimophila Carpalis) is endemic in Sonoran Desert, between southern Arizona and northern Mexico. The species was discovered in 1872 in Tucson, Arizona where it was described as “very common” but by the late 1890’s the species was thought to have gone extinct in Arizona due to overgrazing. The Rufous- Winged Sparrow was rediscovered a half a century later and since the 1930s has gradually increased.

The diet of the Rufous- winged Sparrow consists of mostly insects and seeds. During the summer it feasts mostly on insects, such as caterpillars and grasshoppers, along with many others.  During other seasons, its diet consists mainly of seeds, mostly grasses and weeds. Typically, the Rufous- winged Sparrow will forage for food on the ground in low bushes and stems of plants but will make short flights to catch insects in mid-air. Usually, they will forage in groups or small families.

The Rufous-winged Sparrow mate and nest during the area’s monsoon season, after the summer rains have begun. The nest is built low to the ground in the edges of bushes, typically the Desert Hackberry or Mesquite. The nest is often a deep cup shape made of coarse grasses, dry weeds and small twigs. An average clutch is 2-5 eggs. One brood a year but with good rain can have 2 broods a year. Members of a pair may stay together at a territory all seasons. The males defend the nest by singing from a raised perches. Both parents feed the nestlings and the young leave the nest 8-9 days after hatching.

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