This bird's name came from a species that it resembles but isn't closely related to (convergent evolution?) American tree sparrow, Spizella arborea, also known as the winter sparrow, photographed at Manhattan, Kansas, USA. Image: Dave Rintoul, 13 February 2011 [velociraptorize]. Question: I'm not really sure how this North American mystery bird was given its name because it prefers to nest and forage on the ground. Can you identify the species?Response: This is an adult American tree sparrow, Spizella arborea, also known as the winter sparrow. Despite the fact that this bird neither nests nor forages in trees, its common name is presumably due to its resemblance to the Eurasian tree sparrow, Passer montanus, which it is not closely related to (thanks psweet and petemoulton!). This species' other common name, winter sparrow, is more appropriate, in my opinion, since they tends to show up in the "lower 48" during the winter,...
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