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Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

Species Code: JUHY

Highslide JS
Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only.
© NatureMapping Program

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Predicted breeding range

= Core Habitat
= Marginal Habitat


Dark-eyed Junco photo

Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only. The habitats were identified using 1991 satellite imagery, Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA), other datasets and experts throughout the state, as part of the Washington Gap Analysis Project. Habitats used during non-breeding months and migratory rest-stops were not mapped.

NatureMapping observations map   Map with Breeding Bird Atlas records
Observations | Historic Gap points

The Dark-eyed Junco is common and widespread throughout Washington State in forested zones. It utilizes a variety of wooded habitats with a combination of openings and dese, herbaceous ground cover, including all seral stages of coniferous and deciduous forests, stream borders, cuts, and burns; but most common in open conifer forest with brushy understory or a mix of conifer forest and brushy openings. It is an uncommon breeder in city parks with suitable conifer forest remnants in the Puget Trough during the breeding season.

All forested zones and Alpine/Parkland were core. Peripherally in steppe zones at the margins of the Columbia Basin. In core zones, conifer forests, mixed forests, and forest openings and clearings were good habitat. Low-density development, fresh water/wetlands, and hardwood forests were adequate. In steppe zones, only conifer forest was good.

Washington breeders represent the 'Oregon' form of the Dark-eyed Junco, recognized by the dark 'hood'. Breeders were formerly regarded as separate subspecies: J. oreganus montanus in eastern Washington and J. oreganus shufeldti in western Washington. The separate forms of J. hyemalis are still the subject of much debate. Dark-eyed Juncos are one of the most versatile of forest birds, adapting to a wide variety of micro-habitats within coniferous forest zones. They can be found in mature forests, clear-cuts, and regenerating growth. In dense, closed wet forest, they are most likely to be found in canopy gaps or near edges. They are very common in most Washington cities in winter, but rarer during the breeding season, when they migrate elsewhere or move uphill. Normally this species nests on the ground.

Translated from the Washington Gap Analysis Bird Volume by Uchenna Bright
Text edited by Gussie Litwer
Map by Dave Lester