|Adult black-throated sparrow (A. bilineata)|
It has long been considered to contain the sage sparrow complex as well, but mitochondrial DNA sequences suggest that the sage sparrow (in the broad sense) is not very closely related to the five-striped and black-throated sparrows, so it has been placed in its own genus, Artemisiospiza, a treatment followed here.
Both Amphispiza species inhabit dry areas of the western United States and northern Mexico, but in different habitats. They frequently run on the ground with their tails cocked and sing from low bushes. Adults are whitish on the belly and gray above and on the head, with black and white head markings. Juveniles are rather similar to each other, grayish brown above and whitish below, with short streaks on the breast.
Amphispiza is from Ancient Greek amphi- (αμφι-), "on both sides" or "around", and spiza (σπιζα), "finch", originally applied to the sage sparrow; it was then considered a finch and resembles some other finch-like birds "around" it, that is, in its range.
- Klicka, John; Banks, Richard C. (17 March 2011). "A generic name for some sparrows (Aves: Emberizidae)" (PDF). Zootaxa (2793): 67–68. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- Howell, Steve N. G.; Webb, Sophie (1995). A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. Oxford University Press. pp. 714–715. ISBN 0-19-854012-4.
- Holloway, Joel Ellis (2003). Dictionary of Birds of the United States: Scientific and Common Names. Timber Press. p. 25. ISBN 0-88192-600-0.
- Peterson, Alan P. (Editor). 1999. Zoological Nomenclature Resource (Zoonomen). Accessed 2007-07-29.