Black-throated Sparrow - Amphispiza bilineata
I did a painting of this sparrow on a whim, as I have never seen one in the field or worked on one in the prep lab at the museum. As the range of this species mainly encompasses the southwestern parts of the United States, and going up as far north as Washington, it would be highly unusual to come across one of these in the Midwest. Throughout its range it tends to favor, dry, semi-open habitat. It's a seed eater, but has been known to forage for invertebrates during the breeding season. Male and females have similar plumage. During courtship, the male will sit on a nearby perch singing, while the female constructs a nest below in cactus or desert shrub.
I've always thought them a very striking and handsomely marked breed of sparrow. Black-throated belong to the family Emberizidae. It's an avian family that for the most part includes all species of North American sparrows, juncos and towhees. It does not, however, include the common House Sparrow. House Sparrows are an Old World species that were introduced to the states. Like other Old World sparrows they belong to the family Passeridae and are not closely related to Emberizidae.
Painting available in Etsy Shop