Melospiza melodia
(Song Sparrow)

Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Emberizidae
Family Description: Blackbirds, Orioles, & Sparrows

Physical Description:
5-7" (13-18 cm). Brown and gray striped head and breast; gray belly and napeClick word for definition; brown wings and tail; dark central breast spot.

Similar Species- Lincoln's, Swamp, Savannah, and Fox Sparrows

Song starts with sweet-sweet-sweet, then warbles with a buzzy sound in the middle and at the end.

Breeds across portions of Alaska and Canada, south to southern Baja California, southern Mexico, northern New Mexico, northern Arizona, and portions of southeastern United States. Winters from southern Alaska, coastal and southern British Columbia, northern U.S., and southeastern Canada, south through breeding range and southeastern United States.

Found in brushy, shrubby, and deep, grassy areas along watercourses and seacoasts, in marshes (e.g., cattail, bulrush, and salt), and mostly in northern and eastern portions of range, in forest edges, bogs, brushy clearings, thickets, hedgerows, and gardens. Idaho study found Song Sparrows preferred wet, short-willow communities for breeding.

Eats mostly insects and seeds, but will also eat some small fruits.

Forages on ground, or in trees, grasses, and bushes. Builds cup-shaped nest on ground or, occasionally, in shrub. One study reported breeding territory at usually less than 0.4 ha.

Female incubatesClick word for definition 3-6 eggs for 12-13 days. Young are tended by both parents, leave nest at about 10 days, fly well at 17 days, become independent in 18-20 additional days, and reach sexual maturity in 1 yr. Female produces 2-3 broodsClick word for definition/yr.

Element Code: ABPBXA3010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
National Rank: N5

Important State References:
Douglas, D.C., J.T. Ratti, R.A. Black, and J.R. Alldredge. 1992. Avian habitat associations in riparian zones of Idaho's Centennial Mountains. Wilson Bull. 104:485- 500.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.