Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Harris's Sparrow - Zonotrichia querula
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General Comments This species has a rather narrow migration route, from its boreal forest/tundra edge habitat south to the southern Great Plains. Even so, the Harris's Sparrow has perhaps been recorded from essentially all 50 states, and North Carolina has nine records that span the state. Four of the five spring records are clustered in late Apr; there are also four records from late fall and early winter.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SZ
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Casual (only in recent years) near the coast, in migration. One adult was seen at Cape Lookout (Carteret) on 24 Apr 2000 [Chat 64:159 link]. One in mostly adult plumage was seen and photographed at Winnabow (Brunswick), 20-25 Apr 2004 [Chat 69:32 link]. Another adult was seen at Oregon Inlet (Dare) on 1 Nov 2004 [Chat 69:59 link]. Lastly, one was photographed at a feeder in Kill Devil Hills (Dare) for several days in late Apr 2010 [Chat 74:95 link].
Piedmont Accidental. One immature was found at Beaverdam Reservoir (Wake) on 21 Nov 1976 [Chat 42:60 link]; one adult was at Tryon (Polk) on 30 Dec 1976 [Chat 42:61 link]; and one adult was seen by numerous birders in northern Durham, 21 Apr - 4 May 1991 [Chat 56:53 link]. A report of a "flock of 46" seen in Wilkes, as reported in Pearson et al. (1959), is certainly an error.
Mountains Accidental. One immature male was collected in the Mills River Valley (Buncombe) on 13 Mar 1933 (T.G. Pearson et al., The Birds of North Carolina [rev. ed. 1959]). An individual was seen at a feeder in Swannanoa (Buncombe), 5-12 Jan 1981 [Chat 45:84 link].
Finding Tips
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Attribution LeGrand[2018-02-01], Howard[2014-05-29], LeGrand[2013-12-14]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.