Strange small bird



I teach at Cal Poly and saw an odd bird today on the grounds of my office building (47, "The Maze"). It was the size of a med.-large sparrow, and spent time on the ground as well as in trees. I didn't get good looks at it; I don't even remember whether it walked or hopped. I thought I caught sight of white outer tail feathers on a longish tail. Didn't catch tail-tip shape. The body was darkish, I'm thinking streaked brown. Most notable was its *almost entirely white head*, including the throat. The only color on the head was a black streak that reached back from the eye not quite to the back of the head. The streak wasn't regular, with even edges, like a stripe. It started small, got bigger, and then sort of fizzled out in little streaks. I didn't get a good look at its beak, unfortunately.

It was far too small for a shrike and did not have the head marking patterns of a shrike. I don't see any kind of sparrow, bunting, or longspur in my field guide that looks anything like this head. I saw the head from all angles: white, white, white. Anybody?

Johanna Rubbba

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