Volcano junco

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Volcano junco
Junco vulcani -Cerro de la Muerte, Costa Rica-8.jpg
In Cerro de la Muerte, Costa Rica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Emberizidae
Genus: Junco
Species: J. vulcani
Binomial name
Junco vulcani
(Boucard, 1878)

The volcano junco (Junco vulcani) is an American sparrow endemic to the high mountains of Costa Rica and western Panama.

This junco breeds above the timberline, typically at altitudes above 3000 m, but there is an isolated population at 2100 m on the Caribbean slope of Costa Rica, and forest clearance on Cerro de la Muerte has allowed this species to descend to 2600 m. The habitat is open grassy or brushy areas with some stunted scrubs. The nest is a neat lined cup constructed on the ground under a log, bush or rock, or in a cavity on a vegetated bank. The female lays two brown-spotted pale blue eggs.

The volcano junco is on average 16 cm long and weighs 28 g. The adult has brown upperparts with dark streaking especially on the back. The wings and tail feathers are dark fringed. The underparts are grey. The sides of the head are grey with a black mask through the eye, a yellow iris, and a pink bill and legs. Young birds are brighter brown above with blacker streaking, and have buff-grey underparts.

Volcano junco calls include a thin tseee or a clearer wheew. The song is a mixture of squeaks and buzzes; k’chew chu k’wee chip chip chueee.

The volcano junco feeds on the ground on seeds, fallen berries, insects and spiders. It runs and hops, but flies only short distances.

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