Dark-eyed junco Facts

Dark-eyed junco Facts
Dark-eyed junco is a songbird that belongs to the family of sparrows. There are 15 to 16 subspecies of dark-eyed juncos that can be found in Mexico, USA and Canada. Dark-eyed junco inhabits edges of the coniferous and mixed forests, fields, areas near the roads, parks and gardens. Predation, habitat destruction and collisions with tall, man-made structures negatively affect survival of dark-eyed juncos in the wild. Despite these factors, dark-eyed juncos are one of the most numerous small birds in North America.
Interesting Dark-eyed junco Facts:
Dark-eyed junco can reach 4.92 to 6.5 inches in length and 0.63 ounces of weight. Males are slightly larger than females.
Dark-eyed junco has dark head, brown or grey backs and breasts and white belly. Tail is dark in the middle, and white on the edges. Females have slightly paler plumage.
Dark-eyed junco has rounded head, dark, reddish-brown eyes and short, pink bill.
Dark-eyed junco is an omnivore (it eats plants and meat). Seed and berries represent major source of food. They are supplemented with caterpillars, ants, moths, flies and beetles during the summer. Dark-eyed junco hops on the ground to find food.
Dark-eyed junco lives in small flocks composed of 15 to 25 birds during the autumn and winter. Each flock has strictly organized hierarchy and it occupies territory of 10 to 12 acres.
Dark-eyed junco produces alarm calls to alert other members of the group about upcoming danger. Exposure of white tail feathers has the same purpose.
Natural enemies of dark-eyed juncos are hawks, shrikes, owls, squirrels, cats, weasels and chipmunks.
Mating season of dark-eyed juncos starts in April.
Males occupy territory of 2 to 3 acres at the beginning of the spring. They sing to deter competition and to attract the females. Song of dark-eyed junco consists of fast trills, whistles and warbles. Males also spread their wings and tails to display their beautiful white feathers.
Dark-eyed juncos form monogamous pairs (that mate for a lifetime) and produce 2 to 3 broods per season.
Female builds cup-shaped nest on the ground (hidden under the logs, roots or large plants) or rarely on the trees. Male collects sticks, moss, leaves and other building material which female uses for the construction of nest.
Female lays 3 to 6 white, grayish or bluish eggs covered with brown spots. They hatch after incubation of 12 to 13 days.
Brown-headed cowbird often lays eggs inside the nest of dark-eyed juncos. Females are not able to recognize parasitic eggs and they raise brown-headed cowbirds like their own chicks.
Young dark-eyed juncos are ready to leave the nest 9 to 13 days after hatching and begin independent life 3 weeks later. They reach sexual maturity at the age of 1 year.
Dark-eyed junco can survive 3 to 11 years in the wild.

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