Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow


Profile Song Sparrow     Literature page Song

[order] Passeriformes | [family] Emberizidae | [latin] Melospiza melodia | [UK] Song Sparrow | [FR] Bruant chanteur | [DE] Singammer | [ES] Sabanero Melódico | [IT] Passero cantore | [NL] Zanggors

Zanggors determination

copyright: Don DesJardin

The face has dark streaks through each eye and on either side of the crown, with gray between the dark streaks. Both upperparts and underparts are also streaked. The streaks on the breast often converge into a central breast spot, but many other streak-breasted sparrows can also have a central spot like this, and thus this field mark is not diagnostic. The tail is long and often held cocked up, and is pumped up and down in flight.

Breeds widely in temperate and adjoining climatic zones of Nearctic, mainly in lowland or upland, but locally to 1500 m or higher. A typical edge species, inhabiting thickets of shrubs and trees among grassland, brushy margins or openings of forest, brushy edges of ponds or lakes, shrub swamps, shelterbelts, farmsteads, and sometimes parks or suburbs.

Breeds in North America, from southern Alaska (including Aleutian islands) east across southern half of Canada to Newfoundland, and south through USA to Puebla (central Mexico), northern New Mexico, north-central Arkansas, northern Georgia, and coastal South Carolina.

Typical of the family, Song Sparrows eat insects and seeds, with a greater proportion of seeds in the fall and winter, and a greater proportion of insects in the spring and summer.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 54,000,000 individuals (Rich et al. 2003). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from]

Song Sparrow nesting territories are often small, so nests may be close together resulting in high densities. Nest sites are highly variable, usually on the ground under a clump of grass, or in a shrub within four feet of the ground. In marshy areas, nests are often over water. The nest, built by the female, is an open cup of weeds, grass, leaves, and bark, lined with fine grass, rootlets, and hair. Nest materials vary greatly depending on materials available. The female incubates the 3 to 5 eggs for 12 to 14 days. Both parents feed the young, which leave the nest at 10 to 12 days. Young birds stay near their parents for another three weeks until they learn to fly well and find their own food.

Migratory status varies. In general, populations of northern coasts and of mid-latitudes inland are partly migratory, with some resident races in Aleutian Islands (Alaska); southern populations, especially in south-west states and Mexico, are sedentary. Winters from southern Alaska (Aleutian Islands) and coastal and southern British Columbia east through northern USA to south-east Canada, south throughout rest of breeding range and southern Texas, Gulf of Mexico coast, and southern Florida. No reports of vagrancy north to Arctic North America.


  1. Measurements
  2. spanwidth min.: 20 cm
  3. spanwidth max.: 22 cm
  4. size min.: 15 cm
  5. size max.: 16 cm
  6. Breeding
  7. incubation min.: 12 days
  8. incubation max.: 14 days
  9. fledging min.: 10 days
  10. fledging max.: 12 days
  11. broods 1
  12. eggs min.: 3
  13. eggs max.: 5
  14. Conservation Status
  15. Zanggors status Least Concern


  1. Melospiza melodia pusillula
  2. Melospiza melodia maxima
  3. Melospiza melodia sanaka
  4. Melospiza melodia insignis
  5. Melospiza melodia kenaiensis
  6. Melospiza melodia caurina
  7. Melospiza melodia rufina
  8. Melospiza melodia merrilli
  9. Melospiza melodia morphna
  10. Melospiza melodia cleonensis
  11. Melospiza melodia gouldii
  12. Melospiza melodia
  13. NA widespread, also to c Mexico
  14. Melospiza melodia maxillaris
  15. Melospiza melodia atlantica
  16. Melospiza melodia graminea
  17. Melospiza melodia heermanni
  18. Melospiza melodia rivularis
  19. Melospiza melodia fallax
  20. Melospiza melodia goldmani
  21. Melospiza melodia mexicana
  22. Melospiza melodia villai
  23. Melospiza melodia adusta
  24. Melospiza melodia montana
  25. Melospiza melodia melodia
  26. Melospiza melodia samuelis
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