General Description: Two forms of Dark-eyed Junco are found in Washington: Slate-colored and Oregon. The Oregon form is by far the more common. Both forms have distinctive white outer-tail feathers, white bellies, and pink bills. The Oregon form has a dark hood—bold black for males and gray for females. It has reddish sides, a brown back, and gray wings.
Habitat: Moist conifer and mixed forests with dense understory and forest openings are preferred during breeding season. In winter, they can be found in open woodland and brushy areas, including towns, gardens, and shrub-steppe habitat.
Behavior: Flocking birds with distinct social hierarchy. They feed on the ground, scratching with their feet to find food. They flash their white tail feathers to alert each other of potential danger.
Diet: In summer, insects and seeds are the primary diet. In winter, seeds and berries.
Range in North America: Year round along the West Coast, from Southern California into Southern Alaska. Summers into Northern Alaska and Canada, and winter through the rest of the U.S.
When to See in Washington: Common and widespread in the breeding season. In winter, they’re common in the western lowlands but can also be found, patchily distributed, in eastern Washington.