Feeds exclusively on seeds and flowers during winter. They are especially fond of sprouted seeds, such as garden vegetables. During breeding, however, it is thought that this bird also consumes insects, which are fed to the nestlings. This bird prefers to feed under the shelter of bushes and shrubs. Hangs out in flocks of 10-20 birds, and often seen with White-Crowned Sparrows.
Gray face, throat and underparts. Gray-brown flanks. Brown back with black streaks. Rusty brown wings with two white wing bars. Wide black supercilium and yellow crown. Dark, conical bill with pale lower mandible. Pinkish legs and feet. Long tail. The Winter adult is duller in color and has a less obvious head pattern. Fall-Winter immatures have a plain head pattern with just a hint of a golden crown. Summer immatures are similar to fall-winter birds, but are duller with a streaked breast. Sexes similar. 6-7 inches in length.
Forest understories, thickets, parks. Winters in coastal brushland and chaparral.
4-5 bluish eggs with speckles. The eggs have a ? day incubation period. Fledging occurs in ? days. The nest is an open cup built on or near the ground.
- "The Drip", Cabrillo National Monument, Point Loma