Olive Sparrow (Arremonops rufivirgatus)

Olive Sparrow

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Emberizidae | [latin] Arremonops rufivirgatus | [UK] Olive Sparrow | [FR] Bruant olive | [DE] Olivrucken-Ammer | [ES] Arrocero Olivo | [NL] Olive Sparrow


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Arremonops rufivirgatus NA, MA s Texas to Costa Rica
Arremonops rufivirgatus chiapensis
Arremonops rufivirgatus crassirostris
Arremonops rufivirgatus rhyptothorax
Arremonops rufivirgatus ridgwayi
Arremonops rufivirgatus rufivirgatus
Arremonops rufivirgatus sinaloae
Arremonops rufivirgatus sumichrasti
Arremonops rufivirgatus superciliosus
Arremonops rufivirgatus verticalis

Physical charateristics

A plain olive-backed sparrow with two broad dull brown stripes on crown. No wing bars or stripes on back. Underparts lighter; dingy buffish wash across breast and along sides.

Listen to the sound of Olive Sparrow

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/O/Olive Sparrow.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 21 cm wingspan max.: 25 cm
size min.: 17 cm size max.: 18 cm
incubation min.: 10 days incubation max.: 12 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 1 days
broods: 3   eggs min.: 5  
      eggs max.: 0  


North America, Middle America : South Texas to Costa Rica


Woodland undergrowth, weedy thickets.
In southern Texas, lives in the understory of dense low woods and in areas of low native brush. Farther south in the tropics, inhabits drier woods and semi-open scrub, avoiding humid tropical forest.


Very little is known of the nesting behavior. Birds may remain in pairs or small groups during the winter, separating into isolated pairs in spring. Males sing in spring to defend nesting territories.
Nest: Site is in dense thickets, usually placed in shrub or cactus, typically 2-3′ above ground but sometimes up to 5′ high. Nest is large for size of bird, a bulky cup with a domed top a
nd side entrance; made of dry weed stems, grass, twigs, leaves, strips of bark, lined with fine grass and sometimes with hair.
Eggs: 3-5, typically 4. Glossy white, unmarked. Incubation period and roles of the parents in incubating are not well known.
Young: Probably both parents bring food for the nestlings. Age at which young leave the nest is not well known. Pairs probably raise 2 broods per year.

Feeding habits

Probably insects and seeds. Diet is not well known but is thought to be mainly insects (including caterpillars) and the seeds of wild plants.
Behavior: Does at least the majority of its feeding on the ground, under dense thickets or near their edges. Often fora
ges rather like a towhee, scratching with its feet among the leaf litter. Members of a pair may forage together.


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Olive Sparrow status Least Concern


Southern Texas to southern Mexico; western Costa Rica. A resident of the southern tip of Texas. Migration: Apparently a permanent resident throughout its range.

Distribution map

Olive Sparrow distribution range map

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