Despite their name, sagebrush sparrows are not always found in sagebrush. During winter, they are also found in habitats that include creosote and other desert shrubs. They do, however, rely on large, undisturbed tracts of sagebrush for breeding success.
These mid-sized sparrows are fairly inconspicuous, meaning it can be hard to get a good look at them since they are often concealed in dense vegetation. They are sometimes seen running on the ground from bush to bush with their tail held up in the air.
The formerly known “sage sparrow” has recently been split into two species: the sagebrush sparrow and the Bell’s sparrow. These two species are very difficult to distinguish from each other. However, the Bell’s sparrow is not expected to regularly occur in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.
Look for sagebrush sparrows year-round in the Reserve; in sagebrush habitats during summer, mixed desert shrub habitats during winter.