English  | Français  | Español
Lists:  CAN        
Number of species: 80

Select a species:

  
 
:   Clear  

Dark-eyed Junco - Junco hyemalis

While the preformative molt of Slate-colored Juncos often results in distinct molt limits, these can sometimes be subtle, so more caution is advised for those that appear to be AHY/ASY.  Also, determination of sex can be trickier as there is a gradient of plumage colouration, and therefore care should be taken when differentiating HY/SY males and AHY/ASY females.

There are several subspecies of Dark-eyed Junco in North America; the descriptions provided are for the eastern race, Slate-coloured Junco, but comments regarding molt limits and feather shape/condition are likely broadly applicable to other races too.

Quick Tips:

  • Examine the greater coverts - HY/SY birds often have a conspicuous molt limit among the greater coverts with retained brown outer coverts contrasting with replaced gray inner coverts, while AHY/ASY birds have uniform greater coverts
  • Look at the back and head - AHY/ASY males are dark gray with little or no brown, HY/SY males and AHY/ASY females are medium gray with brown especially on the back, and HY/SY females are brownish-gray and paler than other ages/sexes
  • Check the tail - on HY/SY birds the outer rectrices are narrow and tapered, while on AHY/ASY birds they are broad and rounded; note that the amount of white does not appear to reliably correspond to age or sex
  • In fall and winter, look at the iris under good light - it is grayish-brown on HY/SY birds, and reddish-brown on AHY/ASY birds"

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory

Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.
Age / Sex  Image sets 
Hatch year / Male
Gray to dark gray above, with fair to moderate extent of brown on the back; primary coverts brownish; molt limit among greater coverts or between the greater and primary coverts; rectrices narrow and tapered
Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40579-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1917.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40579-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1919.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40579-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1918.jpg
Date: Nov 26
Hatch year / Female
Gray above, with moderate to extensive brown on the back; primary coverts brownish; molt limit among greater coverts or between the greater and primary coverts; rectrices narrow and tapered.
Thumbnail - MG2-2640-15701-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1914.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2640-15701-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1916.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2640-15701-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1915.jpg
Date: Oct 12
After hatch year / Male
Dark gray above, with little brown on the back; wing uniformly dark gray; rectrices broad and rounded.
Thumbnail - MG2-2600-15176-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1906.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-15176-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1908.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-15176-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1907.jpg
Date: Oct 11
After hatch year / Female
Gray above, with moderate to extensive brown on the back; wing uniformly gray; rectrices broad and rounded.
Thumbnail - MG2-2650-15254-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1903.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-15254-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1905.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-15254-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1904.jpg
Date: Oct 7
Second year / Male
Gray to dark gray above, with fair to moderate extent of brown on the back; primary coverts brownish; molt limit among greater coverts or between the greater and primary coverts; rectrices narrow and tapered
Thumbnail - MG2-2650-45044-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1923.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-45044-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1925.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-45044-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1924.jpg
Date: Mar 10
Second year / Female
Gray above, with moderate to extensive brown on the back; primary coverts brownish; molt limit among greater coverts or between the greater and primary coverts; rectrices narrow and tapered.
Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40305-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1920.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40305-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1922.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40305-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1921.jpg
Date: Feb 15
After second year / Male
Dark gray above, with little brown on the back; wing uniformly dark gray; rectrices broad and rounded.
Thumbnail - MG2-2560-25252-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1911.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-25252-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1913.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-25252-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1912.jpg
Date: Mar 27
After second year / Female
Gray above, with moderate to extensive brown on the back; wing uniformly gray; rectrices broad and rounded.
Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40612-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1909.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40612-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-1910.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40612-Junco_hyemalis_AOU_7_52-2015.jpg
Date: Apr 15

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
Number of species: 80

Select a species: