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|Dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis hyemalis) female, Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area, Quebec, Canada.|
A junco //, genus Junco, is a small North American bird. Junco systematics are still confusing after decades of research, with various authors accepting between three and twelve species. Despite having a name that appears to derive from the Spanish term for the plant genus Juncus (rushes), these birds are seldom found among rush plants, as these prefer wet ground, while juncos like dry soil.
Their breeding habitat is coniferous or mixed forest areas throughout North America, ranging from subarctic taiga to high-altitude mountain forests in Mexico and Central America south to Panama. Northern birds usually migrate farther south; southern populations are permanent residents or altitudinal migrants, moving only a short distance downslope to avoid severe winter weather in the mountains.
These birds forage on the ground. In winter, they often forage in flocks. They eat mainly insects and seeds. They usually nest in a well-hidden location on the ground or low in a shrub or tree.
- Dark-eyed junco, Junco hyemalis
- Gray-headed junco, Junco hyemalis caniceps—sometimes considered distinct species
- Oregon juncos, oreganus subspecies group—considered by some to be a distinct species
- Pink-sided junco, Junco hyemalis mearnsi—sometimes included with oreganus group in distinct species
- Red-backed junco, Junco hyemalis dorsalis—sometimes included with J. h. caniceps in distinct species
- Slate-colored juncos, hyemalis subspecies group—sometimes considered distinct species
- White-winged junco, Junco hyemalis aikeni—sometimes considered distinct species
- Guadalupe junco, Junco insularis
- Yellow-eyed junco, Junco phaeonotus
- Baird's junco, bairdi group
- Chiapas junco, fulvescens group
- Guatemala junco, alticola group
- Mexican junco, phaeonotus group
- Volcano junco, Junco vulcani