Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Botteri's Sparrow (Peucaea botterii)


French: Bruant de Botteri German: Streifenrückenammer Spanish: Chingolo de Botteri

Zonotrichia botterii

P. L. Sclater

, 1858,

vicinity of Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico


Closely related to P. aestivalis and P. cassinii, all having aerial song displays. S races petenica, vantynei, spadiconigrescens and vulcanica have in the past been considered to represent a separate species. Race petenica intergrades with nominate in E Mexico (Veracruz). Some races poorly differentiated, grading clinally into others; texana sometimes considered synonymous with arizonae, and mexicana has been included in nominate race; proposed race tabascensis (described from S Huimanguillo, in W Tabasco) included in petenica. Nine subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. b. arizonae Ridgway, 1873 – extreme S USA in SE Arizona (Cochise County) and SW New Mexico, possibly also W Texas, and N Mexico S to S Sonora and N Durango and discontinuously in N & S Coahuila; non-breeding also to SC Mexico (Morelos).
  • P. b. texana (A. R. Phillips, 1943) – extreme S Texas and NE Mexico (E Tamaulipas).
  • P. b. goldmani (A. R. Phillips, 1943) – W coast of Mexico from S Sinaloa S to Nayarit.
  • P. b. mexicana (Lawrence, 1867) – C highlands of Mexico from SE Durango, Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí S to Colima, C Michoacán and Distrito Federal.
  • P. b. botterii (P. L. Sclater, 1858) – Botteri's Sparrow – SE & S highlands of Mexico from S San Luis Potosí S through Puebla and W Veracruz to C Guerrero, Oaxaca and W Chiapas.
  • P. b. petenica (Salvin, 1863) – Peten Sparrow – lowlands of SE Mexico from EC Veracruz (near city of Veracruz), Tabasco and E Chiapas E to N Yucatán, N Guatemala (Petén) and Belize.
  • P. b. vantynei (Webster, 1959) – highlands of C Guatemala.
  • P. b. spadiconigrescens (T. R. Howell, 1965) – lowlands of N Honduras and NE Nicaragua.
  • P. b. vulcanica (W. deW. Miller & Griscom, 1925) – highlands of W Nicaragua and NW Costa Rica.
  • Descriptive notes

    13·5–15 cm; 15·7–25·5 g. A medium-sized sparrow with large bill, flat head, and long, rounded tail. Nominate race is moderately dark brown in... read more


    Song, sometimes in short aerial display, characteristically consists of two “che-lick”... read more


    Grasslands, savanna, coastal prairie, pine (Pinus) forests, and lowland pine savanna in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, also seeds of sacaton and other plants. Feeds young with variety of insects, especially grasshoppers (Orthoptera) and stick-... read more


    In Arizona season late May through Aug; usually single-brooded; in some areas nesting activities seem to be triggered by rains. Monogamous... read more


    Migratory in far N of range in USA (Arizona, and probably S Texas); resident elsewhere. Absent from... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally abundant in N of range (USA); fairly common to common in Mexico and S to Costa Rica, becoming more local in S parts. At risk in Texas as a... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rising, J. (2020). Botteri's Sparrow (Peucaea botterii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).