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Alexander Werner

Sturbridge, MA, United States


We see this little bird, junco sized, shaped and colored (except for the white neck ring) every few days at the feeder. He comes alone, and does not seem to be part of the junco flock that visits. Is he a junco? Or some other species?


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Dark Eyed Junco With White Ringed Neck?

It looks, behaves like a junco, but it has a white ring marking around the neck. The other juncos seem to avoid it.

48 replies on “Dark Eyed Junco with White Ringed Neck?”

Kayla says:

We have one of these as well, and only one. The other Junco’s do not seem to mind him but we have dozens of birds at our feeder at any given time, and they always peck at each other, swooping around trying to get the “best spot” for seed, regardless of species. Probably a genetic quirk.

Randy says:

I have one of these as well, feeding on peanuts I put out every morning. Can’t find it in any bird identification book. Thank you for posting your picture. I live in Medford Oregon so it sounds like its nation wide

Caitlin Hendrick says:

Thank you for posting! I have one that visits my feeder in Maryland. I’ve been searching everywhere for an ID for this little guy.

Pat Hogan says:

I saw one this week, on the ground, alone tho other juncos are here as well, in western Massachusetts

Allen C says:

So is everyone thinking this is a Junco variant? I’ve have at least one at a feeder in Austin Texas for the last few weeks.

Holly Faulkner says:

Hi all,
This is very likely to be a Dark-eyed Junco with leucism (absence of color in some feathers). For more information, please check out our Albanism and Leucism page (
-Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant

Charles Tuter says:

I have one as well at my feeder. White nape is very well defined. Burns Harbor indiana

Carole Sundquist says:

I have one in my feeder in Essexville, MI.

Mary Doyle says:

Hi Carole from Essexville! I’m from Bay City so know your town well. I’ve lived in New Hampshire since 2002. I just saw one of these white necked juncos here at my home in the White Mountains, flocking with all the regular looking juncos.

Susan Clower says:

A small stretch of road through the country between Manchester Tennessee and Murphreesboro Tennessee is where I have often seen this dark bird with the white ring around it’s neck and I’ve also tried to identify the little fellow! What ever it is or if it’s a genetic quirk, it certainly appears to be all over the US !

Marilyn Anne Schroeder says:

I saw one this morning sitting on the dead flowers poking at the seed heads. It didn’t have a complete white ring around the head just at the back of the neck.

Grace Nelham says:

I have one with a white neck ring feeding from the ground as are regular dark eyed juncos. Ontario, Canada

Ann says:

Saw this pretty bird in my backyard this morning in Hoover, Alabama. Also just had the ring on the back of his neck.

Paul says:

Yup … have had one visiting our feeder (Western Massachusetts) for the past few days. Never saw, or noticed one before. Seems to get along with the regulars, curious.

Charles R says:

Got a white-necked junco that’s been hanging around our feeder since January. Swans Island, Maine.

Jennifer Hartley says:

I just saw one outside my patio door …
I’m in northern lower peninsula of Michigan

Annette Gingras says:

As an avid winter wild bird feeder, I just observed one but it has another small white stripe behind the neck ring plus the legs are more yellow. I live outside Antigonish, NS. Also couldn’t identify until I found this site. Interesting how wide spread this phenomenon is.

Edward Metcalfe says:

We had one at our feeder this morning in Whitingham, Vermont

Nancy Bordy says:

This is definitely the bird we saw in our backyard this morning. 3/27/202
Williamsport PA

Curious Carl says:

I’ll throw my sighting into the mix just in case anybody’s counting. Noted today at Cromwell Valley Park in Hampton, Maryland, just northeast of Towson. Dropped from some low bushes onto the grassy trail. May 16, 2020, sunny, 75 degrees (F), light to moderate breeze, plenty of humans and dogs around. If I had known it was an oddity I would have tried to snap a photo, but it looked strikingly similar to the original poster’s photo.

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi Carl, we can only take data that is submitted to our citizen science projects. Since Project FeederWatch only runs from November until April each year, we suggest reporting sightings to eBird in the meantime. Note also that this white coloration on birds is likely due to leucism or albinism. You can learn more about color variants here.

V Anne says:

I saw a 9” sleek black bird with 1/4” white ring neck on June 10th at my feeders in South Portland Maine. It’s not a Junco b/c it’s bigger and slender! What is this?

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi, you might be seeing a Common Grackle, or another blackbird species. White feathers on a bird often are the result of a pigment abnormality. You can learn more about color variants on this webpage. There are no birds in North America that are all black with a white ring around their neck, so your bird likely just has some feathers that are lacking pigment.

Judith A. Geery says:

Saw one today on low hanging branch on a lake in Granby CT! Couldn’t identify it from any of my bird books. It was gray with a white ring on the neck and underneath the tail which it flipped constantly. When it flew off the underside had a gray/bluish coloring.

Rebecca says:

We saw one yesterday in Big Lake, Alaska.
Thank you for the pictures above to help us identify this is the same bird. My phone picture was not good quality.

Susan says:

I saw one in my backyard in Sacramento, CA. I would love to identify it.

Sandy says:

This morning on top of the patio umbrella on our dock I saw a flash of something, then it flew off. Then, it came back. Got my binoculars and was so thrilled by that white stripe! Got a close look at the beak, pretty long. I called my husband, and just after he saw it, it dove into the pond and caught something. He flew into a tree and we saw him no more. I think his breast was white too. Does this sound as if it’s the same bird as all of you have seen?

Sandy Avery says:

Forgot to say, we live in Mandeville, LA,

Clint Hauser says:

Just had one in my feeder for the 1st time. I’m in southern Wisconsin.

Annella says:

A dark eyed junco mating pair here in Eagle River, Alaska. female has partial symmetrical white markings on sides of neck. Not on back or front of neck. Sorry, no photo.

Gene DiMarco says:

I have a bird at my feeder that I’m having trouble identifying too. Medium size gray bird with a white ring around the neck, very strong pointed beak like you’d see on a woodpecker. Killdeer? Junco? Nothing seems to match, the beak on them is wrong. Only saw him once but I’ll keep looking and hopefully get a picture

Holly Grant, Project Assistant says:

Hi Gene, You might be seeing a Gray Catbird, a species which tends to spend most of their time in dense brush. Here are some photos. In any case, white markings on a birds that otherwise fits a species description (like the junco above) is usually the result of a pigment anomaly, such as leucism or albinism. You can learn more about these color variants here.

I just saw a female dark-eyed junco (slate-colored variant) with a white band around her neck feeding on the ground with other juncos in Blairsville, GA.

Ann says:

Thanks Holly Grant for explaining this is a color variant. To add to the sightings list, this white-ringed-neck Junco has been appearing regularly at our feeder, just south of Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Amy says:

Saw one last week Warwick County Park Pennsylvania. Thanks for posting I was stamped with the white ringed neck.

BENITA says:


Jane Larson says:

I’m pretty sure that’s what we’ve been seeing in our backyard near Newark, Delaware.

Susan Saucier says:

One has been visiting our dock for the last week. Black head with long beak and tuft at top like a woodpecker,thick white ring around neck, white breast and grey body. We’re in southeastern Ontario, Canada

Pamela R says:

I found this thread after I googled to try to identify a bird that I saw in flight on 8/28/2022 near Zionsville, Indiana. The white neck ring on the black/dark gray body was wide and prominent. The bird looked just like the picture shown except that the ring was completely unbroken. Of course, I could not positively vouch for the side of the bird that I could not see, but as it rose, I could see the top, bottom and the side towards me. The uniformity of the black and white and the stark contrast reminded me of an Eastern Kingbird–but, of course, a completely different pattern.

Pamela R says:

To add to my previous comment, I just realized August in Indiana is at least two months early for Dark-eyed Juncos to appear.

Shawn Markel says:

I just had one exactly like the one pictured above. This one was feeding in our lawn with about ten regular looking Juncos. I took some pictures. We always have Juncos at our feeder in the winter. Our feeders aren’t up yet because of bear and deer. I’m glad I found this group.

Holly Faulkner, this one looks like a Junco and is smaller than a Catbird or Grackle. It is also with a group of Juncos. It’s also interesting that so many people have seen the same distinct white collar. I wish we could post pictures.

I am in south central NH.

Heidi Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hello Shawn, thank you for reaching out! The species pictured is indeed a Dark-eyed Junco with what looks to be leucism or some form of albinism.

Marilyn Kaylor says:

Saw one this morning near my feeder. Searched online to ID it. Certainly not in my bird books. Thank you for posting this picture. Cincinnati Ohio November 13, 2022.

Mary Paradiso says:

I saw one for the first time today in North Central Massachusetts. Seems to be hanging around the feeder with the other juncos.

David Sampson says:

We have had these at our feeder for the past 8 months on and off in Halifax Nova Scotia. got some blurry pictures and asked around but nobody knew what they were except that they were very similar to juncos.

Jim W says:

I live in western Washington and juncos are year round residents here and I see them on almost a daily basis. I’ve lived here for 18 years and today was the first time I saw a junco with a white band on the neck. It was feeding on seed I had put out with a group of other juncos.

Marilou J says:

Northern Arizona here. I have one ground feeding with a flock of Juncos.

Thomas Westberry says:

March 18, 2023
I have one lone one at my feeder in Lake City Fl. First for us!

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