The Sierra Madre Sparrow (Xenospiza baileyi) is a highly endangered and endemic species of the highlands of south-central Mexico, where it is resident in bunchgrass (Gramineae) and adjacent marshy habitats in the southern Sierra Madre Occidental (Jalisco and Durango states) and in the mountains around the Valley of Mexico (Distrito Federal and the states of Morelos and Mexico). This species was first collected in the southern part of this range on 23 April 1945 at La Cima, D.F., where its persistence has been documented essentially continuously since 1951. The first specimens of the taxon were collected in the Sierra de Bolaños of extreme northern Jalisco on 3–10 March 1889, including the type from which the genus and species were described in 1931. Two populations have been found in southern Durango: one 30 miles (48 km) south-west of the City of Durango on 22 March 1931, and the other 5 miles (8 km) west of El Salto on 16–17 June 1951. The Sierra Madre Sparrow has not been otherwise confirmed in the northern part of its range, which in July 2004 led us to conduct an extensive search for it in these areas of Durango and Jalisco as well as south-western Zacatecas. Here we present the findings from that search, during which several sites were intensively surveyed and a single population of this sparrow was located – a new one between the city of Durango and El Salto, Durango. This rediscovery increases possibilities for understanding the biogeography, ecology and basic requirements of the Sierra Madre Sparrow, information of fundamental importance for proposing measures that promote its conservation in any of its remaining populations.
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