Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-winged Sparrow (Peucaea carpalis)


French: Bruant à épaulettes German: Rostflügelammer Spanish: Chingolo alirrufo

Peucæa carpalis


, 1873,

Tucson, Arizona, USA


Geographical variation largely clinal, and races weakly differentiated; bangsi intergrades with nominate in NC Sonora and with cohaerens in N Sinaloa, and sometimes considered to be inseparable from latter. When species treated in same genus as what is here called Amphispiza bilineata (e.g. when both placed in Aimophila), race bangsi of latter has priority and race bangsi of present species assumes replacement name distinguenda. Three subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. carpalis Coues, 1873 – extreme S USA (SC Arizona) and adjacent NW Mexico (S to C Sonora).
  • P. c. bangsi (R. T. Moore, 1932) – NW Mexico (NC Sonora S to N Sinaloa).
  • P. c. cohaerens (R. T. Moore, 1946) – N & C Sinaloa.
  • Descriptive notes

    13·5–14·5 cm; 12·6–17·5 g. A small, rather slim sparrow. Nominate race has crown and nape rufous, grey median crownstripe, broad grey supercilium, grey side of head with... read more


    Song a plaintive rapid series of whistled notes, often with 1–3 introductory notes, e.g. “chip burr... read more


    Desert scrub (Arizona and Sonora) and tropical thorn-scrub (Sinaloa), with mixed bunchgrass, and in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet consists of grass and weed seeds, and arthropods. In winter, mostly seeds (e.g. of Aristida, Panicum, Paspalum... read more


    Breeds generally during summer, Jun to early Oct, depending on rains, beginning usually after a day of monsoon rainfall exceeding 14 mm,... read more


    Resident; some short-distance movements may occur when food limited. After very wet years, where... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Classified as “Rare” in the USA (Yellow WatchList priority species for conservation). Often common or very common in appropriate habitat. Global... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rising, J. (2020). Rufous-winged Sparrow (Peucaea carpalis). 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 28 February 2020).