Song Sparrow

The Song Sparrow can be found across the United States, and is one of our most common sparrows. Their plumage (feathers) changes depending on where they live. In Oregon their feathers are dark and streaked, while in Arizona, they are pale.

Song Sparrow, photo by Mick Thompson

Size & Shape: 6″. Medium sized, fairly bulky. Bill is short and stout, head fairly rounded, tail is long and rounded, wings are broad.

Color: Streaked brownish above with brown wings. Dark, dense streaking may merge into central spot on whitish breast. Wide gray eyebrow, brown crown with gray central stripe, dark mustache mark.

Behavior: Feeds mostly on ground on insects, seeds (including below bird feeders,) some fruit. Less prone to flock but can be gregarious in migration. Sings year round; in region, begins nesting in late winter.

Habitat: Prefers shrubs, thicket edge in wetter areas, but frequents semi-open habitats, broken forest.

Field Marks: Breast with coarse brown streaks, dark mustache, back gray with brown streaks, face gray with brown markings.

Songs & Calls: Listen here.

Fun Facts: When the days get longer, many birds start to breed. But Song Sparrows don’t just look to how long the sun is shining. They start breeding when the temperatures get warm enough.

Scientific Name: Melospiza melodia