Field SparrowSpizella pusilla

adult
Rob Curtis/VIREO
adult
Rob Curtis/VIREO
Field Sparrow

Description

5 1/4" (13 cm). The combination of bright pink bill, rufous cap, white eye ring, and unstreaked buff breast distinguishes this from other sparrows.

Voice

A series of soft, plaintive notes, all on the same pitch, accelerating to a trill at the end.

Listen

dawn song #2
rapid call series
song #2
chips
song #3
song #1
dawn song #1
song #4

Habitat

Abandoned fields and pastures overgrown with weeds, scattered bushes, and small saplings.

Range

Breeds from northern North Dakota, central Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and central New England south to Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, central Texas, and western Colorado. Winters south to Gulf of Mexico and northeastern Mexico.

Discussion

When farms and pastures become overgrown with weeds and bushes, birds such as Field Sparrows and Indigo Buntings move in and nest. Although shyer than its close relative the Chipping Sparrow-and thus more difficult to observe-the Field Sparrow may be studied at leisure when it sings its sweet plaintive song from a conspicuous perch atop a bush or fence post. During fall migration it may be seen among mixed flocks of sparrows.

Nesting

4 brown-spotted pale green eggs in a woven cup-shaped nest of grass, lined with rootlets or fine grass and set on or near the ground.

Similar Species

adult

Rufous-winged Sparrow

5-5 1/2" (13-14 cm). Resembles Rufous-crowned Sparrow, but is lighter, with finer streaking on back and 2 pronounced "whisker" marks (instead of 1).

adult

American Tree Sparrow

5 1/2-6 1/2" (14-17 cm). Gray head with rufous crown and ear stripe; streaked brown above; two prominent wingbars; plain gray below, with dark spot in center of breast.

adult male

Black-chinned Sparrow

5-5 1/2" (13-14 cm). A gray sparrow with black chin and eye smudge, pink bill, chestnut-streaked mantle, white belly. Thin white wing bars. Female and juveniles lack black facial markings.

adult

Brewer's Sparrow

5" (13 cm). Light brown upperparts with black streaks; unmarked pale underparts. Resembles Clay-colored Sparrow, but has brown crown, finely streaked with black.

adult

Clay-colored Sparrow

5-5 1/2" (13-14 cm).

adult

Chipping Sparrow

5-5 1/2" (13-14 cm). A small sparrow. Upperparts are brown, streaked with black; underparts, sides of face, and rump are gray.

Vireo

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