Yellow-eyed Junco (Junco phaeonotus)

Yellow-eyed Junco

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Emberizidae | [latin] Junco phaeonotus | [UK] Yellow-eyed Junco | [FR] Pinson mexicain | [DE] Rotrucken-Junko | [ES] Carbonero ojilumbre | [NL] Geeloogjunco


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Passerculus phaeonotus
Junco phaeonotus NA, MA sw USA to Guatemala
Junco phaeonotus alticola
Junco phaeonotus bairdi
Junco phaeonotus fulvescens
Junco phaeonotus palliatus
Junco phaeonotus phaeonotus

Physical charateristics

The only junco with yellow eyes. It also lacks the hooded effect and is whitish-throated. Walks rather than hops. The combination of grayish sides and bright rufous
back distinguishes this pale-breasted species from all other juncos except the “Gray-headed” form of the Dark-eyed Junco.

Listen to the sound of Yellow-eyed Junco

[audio: Junco.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 23 cm wingspan max.: 27 cm
size min.: 16 cm size max.: 17 cm
incubation min.: 14 days incubation max.: 16 days
fledging min.: 13 days fledging max.: 15 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America, Middle America : Southwest USA to Guatemala


Conifer forests, pine-oak woods.
A bird of mountain forests throughout its range. In our area, breeds at middle and upper elevations of mountains near Mexican border, mostly in forests of pine and Douglas-fir, but also down into pine-oak woods. Slight
downhill movement in winter may bring a few into areas of scrub oak and pinyon-juniper woods.


Male sings to defend nesting territory, often from a perch high in a tree. In courtship, male may strut about near female with his tail spread wide, giving a soft song.
Usually on the ground, sometimes in a shrub or low tree but rarely more than a few feet high. Nests on ground are often placed in a slight depression and hidden under something such as a log, shrub, or overhanging clump of grass. Nest (built by female
, sometimes with help from male) is shallow cup of grass, lined with fine grass and sometimes hair.
Eggs: 3-4, sometimes 5. Pale gray or bluish white, spotted with reddish brown. Incubation is by female only, about 15 days.
Young: Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave the nest about 10 days after hatching, cannot fly well for about another week. 2 or 3 broods per year.

Feeding habits

Mostly seeds and insects.
Diet is not known in detail; apparently feeds on insects more in summer than in winter. May eat mostly seeds, including those of weeds and grasses. Also known to eat some flowers, buds, and berries.
Behavior: Does most of its foraging on the ground. Will scratch in the soil or leaf litter with its feet to find food. Also does some foraging up in shrubs and sometimes in tree
s. Will hunt for food around picnic areas and campgrounds in the mountains.


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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to 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.
Yellow-eyed Junco status Least Concern


Resident in high mountains of southeastern Arizona, extreme southwestern New Mexico; south to Guatemala. Migration: Mostly se
dentary, but flocks may move to slightly lower elevations in the mountains in winter. A very rare visitor to lowland valleys.

Distribution map

Yellow-eyed Junco distribution range map

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