The Stripe-headed Sparrow is a small bird resident of the northwestern region of the country, but also found in the western portion of the Central Valley. They have a gray to white belly, with orangish to brown feathers on the back and wings. As the name suggests, the head pattern consists of a series of stripes, with a white throat, followed by a broad black stripe covering the black eyes, then one white stripe and another black stripe, each narrower than the previous one. The look is finished with a central white stripe. They are most likely found foraging in groups of at least three around an area. They perch at a lower level in many places, including fences, but also get down to the ground sometimes.
The Rufous-collared Sparrow is a common sight in the Central Valley of Costa Rica and the surrounding mountains, and it is also common in the regions of Colombia that we visited. It can be seen hopping in the grass, on the lookout for small worms and insects. They are not shy at all of people and will enter houses and buildings looking for food that may lie on the floor. The Juvenile lacks the Rufous collar around the neck and back. Common does not mean any less fascinating, and the “Comemaiz” is one of those common birds in Costa Rica that has more than one trick down its sleeve.
This sparrow has a very peculiar song. It starts with a pair of very high and a lower note, just about a second apart, and the pair is repeated a few times. Then it starts to do a third note, and repeats it many times, in an accelerating fashion, until it stops and becomes silent. Then the song starts again. It is found in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica, in areas of dense vegetation cover. Its underparts are gray, while the upperparts are olive in color. It has two black stripes on its head, one on each side, separated by a gray stripe on the center. It also has a black line that passes through the eyes and almost reaches the neck.