Dark-eyed Junco bird

Fun Facts About Dark-eyed Juncos

The dark-eyed junco is a special species of junco, an arboreal group of small, dark gray New World sparrows. This bird is widespread across all parts of North America and even into the Arctic regions. 

This species is widespread across much of warm, sub-tropical North America and into much of central to northern South America. 


The dark-eyed juncos are very popular in the bird watching world because of its unique colors and patterns.

Colors: The dark-eyed junco has a dark gray head, neck and chest with a white lower belly, and a short light pink conical bill.

  • Length: 5.1-6.6 in (13-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-1.0 oz (17-31 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.6-10.2 in (17-26 cm)


The dark-eyed junco has a lifespan of 3 to 11 years in the wild, this is depending on environmental conditions and activity level. Juncos living in captivity have a slightly longer lifespan.


The Dark-Eyed Junco is a small bird with dark eyes and white feathers. It’s found in the Northern Hemisphere from Alaska to Greenland, south through most of Canada and the United States into Mexico. The junco’s range is expanding as its population grows, moving southward during the winter months as far as Texas and Florida. Juncos live in family groups called “coveys.”


The Dark-eyed Junco breeds on a large range in Canada and the USA. They can be found near forested or mixed coniferous woods, open woodlands, woodland edges, thickets, scrubby areas with scattered trees or brushy fields with dense vegetation at the ground level such as vines and brambles.

They are also seen near water sources like lakes, streams and rivers where they eat insects and plants for food.  During winter, they can be found on open woodlands, roadsides, gardens, parks, and even in backyards.

Image by Wayne Linton from Pixabay


The dark-eyed juncos diet in the wild, is composed mainly of seeds and insects such as ants, bees, wasps, lacewings, and roaches.


Dark eyed juncos are birds that build their nests on the ground, usually in open areas. The male builds the nest for the female to lay eggs in it.

The males collect moss, lichen, twigs and other soft materials while the females weave them together with a plant fiber called milkweed silk. The female typically lays three to six eggs, and she is responsible for incubating them.

The male often sits nearby, guarding her nest while she is sitting on it. He will also feed her while she’s sitting there, too! There are a few predators of dark eyed junco eggs including snakes, coyotes, ravens and weasels.

How To Attract Them to Your Yard

To attract them, use a low platform feeder or open tray feeder, with some of their favorite foods, such as hulled sunflower seed, white proso millet, and cracked corn, peanuts, berries, corn, acorns, pine cones, acorns, or a mix.

Another great way to attract them is with this Squirrel-proof Bird Feeder and Lyric Wild Bird Mix, all these products are available on Amazon. I have great success with this combination, and it works like a charm.

Fun Facts

  1. The Dark-Eyed Junco’s scientific name is “Junco hyemalis.”
  2. The Junco eats mainly seeds, berries, and insects during the summer months, and seeds during the winter.
  3. There are 2 different species of junco throughout North America. The Dark-eyed Junco and Yellow-eyed Junco.
  4.  In cold weather juncos will cluster together to stay warm at night by sleeping close together or sometimes huddling up next to one another for warmth.
  5. Juncos typically travel in flocks of 10 or more when they migrate from one place to another.
  6. A group of juncos is called a “chittering”.
  7. Juncos are monogamous birds, meaning that they only mate with one partner at a time for life.
  8. Some migrate to the southern United States in winter to escape cold weather. Some stay year-round.
  9. The junco can fly at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.
  10. Dark eyed junco are known as snowbirds.
  11. Males will sing their courtship songs while flying over potential mates to show off their skill and attractiveness.
  12. Breeding season for Dark-Eyed Juncos is between late April and early July.
  13. The gestation period lasts about 16 days and one clutch may have 3 to 6 eggs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Junco’s rare?

Juncos are a common bird found in North America. They have an estimated population of 260 million individuals, and are listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Are Dark-Eyed Juncos Aggressive?

Dark-eyed juncos are not typically aggressive birds, but they do exhibit territorial behavior at times. They often become more aggressive during mating season or when defending their nestlings against predators.

Do Juncos use birdhouses?

In the northern regions of North America, juncos are common visitors to birdhouses. They do not use them for nesting, but they will use a birdhouse as shelter during harsh weather conditions or even as a place to roost at night.

Do Dark-eyed Juncos eat black oil sunflower seeds?

Dark-eyed Juncos love black oil sunflower seeds, and these are one of their favorite foods. They will visit feeders for them, when their preferred food sources are scarce around the winter months.

Do Juncos eat mealworms?

Yes, it is documented that juncos eat a variety of different seeds, including millet. Millet, however, does not make up the majority of their diet. A more common food for juncos would be insects and worms.

What family are Dark-eyed Juncos in?

Dark eyed juncos belong to the American sparrow family. They live primarily in mountainous regions and winter in more southern areas like Mexico or Central America.