20 Sparrows in Indiana (With Pictures)

20 Sparrows in Indiana (With Pictures)

Indiana, with its rich natural landscapes, is a perfect stage for the vibrant world of sparrows. This article introduces 20 distinct species found in the state, from the commonly seen House Sparrow to the less familiar Nelson’s Sparrow.

Each species brings its own unique characteristics and contributes to the ecological diversity of Indiana. We’ll explore their habitats, behaviors, and the roles they play in the local environment, providing a comprehensive overview of these fascinating birds for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers alike.

1. Song Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Melospiza melodia
  • Life span: 2-7 years
  • Size: 5.5-7 in / 14-18 cm
  • Weight: 0.8-1.4 oz / 22-40 g
  • Wingspan: 9.1-9.8 in / 23-25 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

A versatile and widespread resident of North America, the Song Sparrow inhabits various environments, from dense forests to open fields. It’s most recognizable for its rich, streaky brown plumage, which is intricately patterned with darker and lighter shades.

Each bird has a unique set of stripes and spots across its back, wings, and chest, with a characteristic spot in the center of the chest. The Song Sparrow’s round, plump shape and long, rounded tail are other notable features.

A Song Sparrow singing its song on a branch

Indiana’s Song Sparrows build artful nests, often on the ground or low in shrubs, using grasses and leaves. The nests, sometimes hidden among tall grasses, reflect the bird’s preference for concealing its presence, resonating with its melodic yet elusive nature.

These birds are opportunistic feeders in Indiana, consuming insects, seeds, and fruit. They forage on the ground, flitting through underbrush with a palpable zest, illustrating their adaptability and resourcefulness.

Song Sparrows in Indiana are widespread and abundant. Conservation efforts focus on preserving their natural habitats, especially wetlands and thickets, ensuring these melodious creatures continue to grace the state with their presence.

2. House Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Passer domesticus
  • Life span: 3-5 years
  • Size: 5.5-6.3 in / 14-16 cm
  • Weight: 1.1-1.4 oz / 30-40 g
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.1 in / 20-23 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

The House Sparrow, a familiar sight in urban and rural settings, is widely distributed across Europe, Asia, and North America. This small but robust bird is easily identified by its distinct coloration, with males showcasing a bold combination of black, white, and brown.

The black bib and chest, coupled with a gray cap and warm brown nape, lend it a unique charm. Females and juveniles are more subdued in color, primarily displaying earthy brown and gray tones, with less pronounced markings.

A House Sparrow getting ready for flight

In Indiana, the adaptable House Sparrow nests almost anywhere, from tree crevices to building eaves. They’re often seen busily gathering materials, showing a preference for grasses, feathers, and twigs, creating cozy, cluttered nests that reflect their resourceful nature.

These urban dwellers feast on a variety of foods in Indiana, from spilled grains to insects. Their diet adapts to human environments, showcasing their remarkable flexibility. They’re often seen hopping around outdoor cafes or parks, eagerly pecking at any available morsels.

Originally introduced in North America, House Sparrows in Indiana are not native and have no specific conservation efforts. They have thrived and sometimes outcompete native species, sparking discussions about their impact on local ecosystems.

3. Swamp Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Melospiza georgiana
  • Life span: 2-4 years
  • Size: 5.5-6.3 in / 14-16 cm
  • Weight: 0.7-1.2 oz / 20-35 g
  • Wingspan: 8.7-9.1 in / 22-23 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

The Swamp Sparrow is a bird of North America’s wetlands, thriving in marshes and swamps. It has a subtle beauty, with a rusty cap contrasting sharply with a gray face and breast. The streaks along its back and wings are a mix of brown and black, blending seamlessly with the marsh vegetation.

Its short, conical bill is perfectly adapted to its habitat, and its overall plumage varies slightly with seasons, becoming more vibrant during the breeding season.

A Swamp Sparrow sitting in a tree in the fall

Swamp Sparrows in Indiana nest in dense marsh vegetation, creating a hidden haven for their young. The nests, built close to the ground, reflect the bird’s affinity for the secretive, watery world of marshes.

Primarily insectivorous, these sparrows in Indiana forage in wetlands, exhibiting a preference for spiders and small aquatic insects. This diet highlights their integral role in the ecosystem, balancing insect populations in their marshy homes.

Swamp Sparrows in Indiana benefit from conservation efforts aimed at protecting wetland habitats. Their presence is a bellwether for the health of these ecosystems, underscoring the importance of preserving Indiana’s natural waterways.

4. Dark-eyed Junco

  • Scientific name: Junco hyemalis
  • Life span: 3-7 years
  • Size: 5.5-6.3 in / 14-16 cm
  • Weight: 0.7-1.1 oz / 20-30 g
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 in / 19-25 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

Widespread across North America, the Dark-eyed Junco is known for its striking simplicity. It sports a smooth slate-gray coat on the upper parts, transitioning to a crisp white on the belly. The tail is notably white-edged, flashing distinctively in flight.

This bird’s clean color division and round, plump shape makes it a favorite among bird enthusiasts, especially against snowy backdrops in winter.

A Dark-Eyed Junco looking for food

Dark-eyed Juncos typically nest on the ground, often under the cover of a bush or grass clump. Their choice of nesting site demonstrates their preference for the security and seclusion provided by the state’s diverse habitats.

These birds are primarily seed-eaters but also consume insects. Their foraging habits in Indiana’s forests and gardens illustrate their versatility and ability to thrive in different environments, embodying the spirit of adaptability.

In Indiana, Dark-eyed Juncos are common and not currently a conservation concern. Their widespread presence across the state reflects the success of maintaining diverse and healthy ecosystems.

5. White-throated Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Zonotrichia albicollis
  • Life span: 5-10 years
  • Size: 6.3-7.5 in / 16-19 cm
  • Weight: 0.9-1.3 oz / 25-38 g
  • Wingspan: 8.7-9.8 in / 22-25 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

The White-throated Sparrow, with its distinctive call, is a common sight in the woodlands of North America. It has a striking face pattern with a white throat, yellow lores, and black-and-white stripes on the head.

The bird’s overall plumage is a subtle blend of brown and gray, with a soft, fluffy appearance. This sparrow’s bright white throat patch makes it easily distinguishable from other sparrows, particularly during its melodious vocal displays.

Close-up of a White-Throated Sparrow in the morning light

These birds create well-concealed nests on or near the ground, using grasses and leaves. In Indiana, their nesting behavior reflects a blend of caution and resourcefulness, emblematic of their adaptive survival strategies.

In Indiana, they feed on seeds, fruits, and insects. Their foraging, often done on the forest floor, illustrates their integral role in the woodland ecosystem, contributing to the natural cycle of seed dispersal and insect control.

White-throated Sparrows in Indiana benefit from conservation efforts focused on forest preservation. Their thriving populations are a testament to the success of these initiatives, symbolizing the interconnectedness of species and habitats.

6. American Tree Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Spizelloides arborea
  • Life span: 2-6 years
  • Size: 5.9 in / 15 cm
  • Weight: 0.6-1.0 oz / 18-28 g
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.1 in / 20-23 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

A winter visitor to much of North America, the American Tree Sparrow is charming with its rusty cap and eye-line. Its gray face and underparts contrast with the streaked brown back and wings.

The small, bi-colored bill – yellow below and dark above – is a distinctive feature. This sparrow’s hardiness and adaptability to cold climates make it a symbol of the winter birding landscape.

An American Tree Sparrow sitting in the snow

American Tree Sparrows nest on the ground, often in a well-hidden location among grasses or shrubs. Their nests, a testament to their resourcefulness, are crafted with grasses and lined with softer materials for warmth.

These sparrows primarily eat seeds and insects. Their foraging habits in Indiana, often at bird feeders or on the ground, illustrate their adaptability to different food sources and environments.

In Indiana, American Tree Sparrows are common during winter months. Conservation efforts focus on maintaining diverse habitats, ensuring these seasonal visitors continue to find refuge in the state.

7. Chipping Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Spizella passerina
  • Life span: 4-5 years
  • Size: 4.7-5.9 in / 12-15 cm
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz / 12-18 g
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.1 in / 20-23 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

A common visitor to North American gardens, the Chipping Sparrow is endearing with its rufous cap and black eye-line. Its underparts are a pale gray, providing a soft contrast to the streaked brown and black upper parts.

This sparrow’s small, slender build and active demeanour make it a delightful sight, particularly as it forages on the ground or perches in small trees and shrubs.

A Chipping Sparrow sitting on a branch with nest-building materials in its mouth

Chipping Sparrows in Indiana build their nests in trees or shrubs, often at low to moderate heights. Their nests, artfully woven with grass and lined with hair, are emblematic of their intricate and delicate nature.

Their diet includes seeds and insects, reflecting their adaptability to the changing seasons in Indiana. Their presence in gardens and fields, actively foraging, adds a lively charm to these environments.

These sparrows are common in Indiana and do not require specific conservation efforts. Their adaptability to both natural and human-altered environments highlights their resilience and resourcefulness.

8. Eastern Towhee

  • Scientific name: Pipilo erythrophthalmus
  • Life span: 6-9 years
  • Size: 7.1-9.1 in / 18-23 cm
  • Weight: 1.1-1.8 oz / 31-52 g
  • Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in / 25-30 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

A bird of the eastern forests of North America, the Eastern Towhee is striking with its black upperparts and white-spotted wings and tail in males, and brown in females. The bright white belly creates a stark contrast, making this bird easily distinguishable.

Its large size and bold coloration, along with the characteristic rust-coloured sides, make the Eastern Towhee a standout in its habitat.

An Eastern Towhee eating sunflower seeds in the snow

The Eastern Towhee is an artistic nester. In Indiana’s underbrush, they artfully construct their nests on the ground, using twigs and leaves, hidden away like secret treasures, awaiting the arrival of their speckled eggs.

These robust birds are omnivores. Their diet ranges from insects and spiders, unearthed by their distinctive ground-scratching, to berries and seeds, making them versatile foragers in Indiana’s diverse habitats.

In Indiana, the Eastern Towhee faces challenges like habitat fragmentation. Conservationists are focusing on maintaining forest edges and shrubby areas, vital for the Towhee’s survival, blending conservation with the state’s natural beauty.

9. Field Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Spizella pusilla
  • Life span: 4-6 years
  • Size: 4.7-5.5 in / 12-14 cm
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz / 12-18 g
  • Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in / 19-22 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

The Field Sparrow, a widespread bird of North America’s open fields and scrublands, is noted for its warm, rufous cap and clear, unmarked gray breast. Its back and wings are a mix of brown and rust, with a delicate facial pattern.

This sparrow’s gentle appearance and sweet, melodic song make it a delightful presence in its preferred open habitats.

A singing Field Sparrow on top of a branch

Field Sparrows select secluded shrubbery or grass for nesting. They skillfully construct cup-shaped nests using grasses, displaying an instinct for protection. These nests are a testament to their architectural ingenuity and survival strategy.

Field Sparrows primarily feed on seeds, especially during non-breeding seasons. They adapt their diet to include insects in the breeding season, reflecting their ecological role as seed dispersers and natural pest controllers.

Facing population declines due to habitat loss, Field Sparrows are the focus of conservation efforts aimed at preserving grasslands. These initiatives highlight the importance of protecting natural habitats to maintain biodiversity and ecological balance.

10. Savannah Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Passerculus sandwichensis
  • Life span: 3-7 years
  • Size: 5.5-6.7 in / 14-17 cm
  • Weight: 0.5-0.9 oz / 14-26 g
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.4 in / 20-24 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

Adorning the open spaces of North America, the Savannah Sparrow is known for its subtle yet attractive plumage. It has a streaky brown back and wings, with a white underside marked by thin, crisp streaks.

The face is a delicate combination of white and brown, with a short, notched tail. This bird’s overall coloration provides excellent camouflage in its grassland habitats, making it a master of blending in.

A chunky Savannah Sparrow looking for food in the winter

In Indiana, Savannah Sparrows build nests on the ground, hidden among tall grasses. Their nesting choices reflect their deep connection to the prairies and fields, creating a symbiotic relationship with their environment.

These sparrows feed on a mix of insects and seeds. In Indiana’s grasslands, they play a pivotal role in controlling insect populations and seed dispersal, showcasing their importance in maintaining ecological balance.

Conservation efforts in Indiana focus on protecting grassland habitats. The Savannah Sparrow serves as a key indicator species, with their well-being reflecting the health of these ecosystems.

11. Grasshopper Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Ammodramus savannarum
  • Life span: 2-4 years
  • Size: 4.7-5.5 in / 12-14 cm
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz / 12-18 g
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.9 in / 16-20 cm
  • Status: Near Threatened
  • State status: Breeding and uncommon

Inhabiting the grasslands of North America, the Grasshopper Sparrow is a small, inconspicuous bird. It has a buffy brown overall coloration with fine streaks on the back and wings. The face is plain with a flat head profile, and the short tail is often kept erect.

This sparrow’s muted tones and secretive nature make it a challenging but rewarding find for birdwatchers.

A Grasshopper Sparrow sitting in a chicken fence

In Indiana, Grasshopper Sparrows build their nests on the ground in open grasslands. Their well-concealed nests, made of grasses and lined with fine materials, reflect their deep connection to the prairie landscapes.

They feed on seeds and insects, particularly grasshoppers, as their name suggests. In Indiana’s prairies, their diet underscores their role in controlling insect populations and maintaining the ecological balance.

Conservation efforts in Indiana are crucial for this species, as they face challenges due to habitat loss. Protecting prairie habitats is key to ensuring the survival of the Grasshopper Sparrow in the state.

12. Henslow’s Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Ammodramus henslowii
  • Life span: 1-3 years
  • Size: 4.7-5.5 in / 12-14 cm
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz / 12-18 g
  • Wingspan: 6.7-7.9 in / 17-20 cm
  • Status: Near Threatened
  • State status: Breeding and rare

The elusive Henslow’s Sparrow, found in North America’s grasslands, is a bird of subtle beauty. It has an olive-green head, streaked brown and black back, and buff-coloured chest with faint streaks.

Its flat head and short tail, along with a tendency to stay hidden in tall grasses, make it a rare sight, cherished by birdwatchers.

This guy seems to be holding on for dear life in the wind

Henslow’s Sparrows, shy and elusive, prefer nesting in tall grasses of meadows. Their nests, often a well-hidden secret on the ground, are crafted with grass, embodying the heart of Indiana’s prairies.

These sparrows feed primarily on insects and seeds. Their diet reflects the richness of Indiana’s prairies, with a preference for grasshoppers, crickets, and seeds of native grasses, sustaining them through the seasons.

Henslow’s Sparrow, a symbol of pristine prairies, is facing habitat loss. Indiana’s conservation efforts focus on prairie restoration, aiming to bring back the sweet, short songs of these sparrows to the heartland.

13. Vesper Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Pooecetes gramineus
  • Life span: 2-5 years
  • Size: 5.9 in / 15 cm
  • Weight: 5.9 in / 15 cm
  • Wingspan: 8.7-9.8 in / 22-25 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

The Vesper Sparrow, a bird of the open fields across North America, is particularly noted for its melodious song at dusk. It displays a mix of brown, white, and black in its plumage, with white outer tail feathers that are conspicuous in flight.

The breast is white with dark streaks, and a white eye-ring gives it a distinctive look. Its back and wings show a mix of brown and gray, ideal for blending into the grasslands it calls home.

A Vesper Sparrow taking a bath

Indiana’s Vesper Sparrows nest on the ground, often in open fields, camouflaging their nests with grasses and small twigs. This behavior showcases their connection to the earth and open spaces, reflecting their unassuming yet resilient nature.

They primarily feed on seeds and insects, illustrating a diet that shifts with the seasons. In Indiana’s fields, they’re often seen foraging at dusk, adding a sense of mystery and elegance to their daily routines.

Vesper Sparrows in Indiana are a species of concern due to habitat loss. Conservation efforts focus on preserving grasslands and prairies, crucial for their survival and emblematic of the state’s natural heritage.

14. Lark Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Chondestes grammacus
  • Life span: 4-6 years
  • Size: 5.9-6.7 in / 15-17 cm
  • Weight: 0.7-1.1 oz / 20-31 g
  • Wingspan: 9.1-10.2 in / 23-26 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and uncommon

A bird with a striking face pattern, the Lark Sparrow inhabits the open country of North America. It has a bold, chestnut-and-white striped head, a distinctive spot on the breast, and a long, notched tail. The back and wings are intricately patterned with chestnut, black, and white, giving it a distinguished appearance among sparrows.

A Lark Sparrow sitting on a barbed-wired fence

Lark Sparrows in Indiana display unique nesting habits, choosing low branches or bushes. Their nests, masterpieces of grass and twigs, showcase the birds’ dedication to creating a safe nursery for their offspring.

These sparrows have a diverse diet, feeding on both insects and seeds. Indiana’s fields and edges provide ample beetles, caterpillars, and grass seeds, catering to their eclectic tastes throughout the seasons.

As a species with fluctuating populations, Lark Sparrows in Indiana benefit from grassland conservation. Efforts to maintain open, grassy habitats are crucial for their survival, ensuring their melodious presence remains a part of Indiana’s soundscape.

15. White-crowned Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Zonotrichia leucophrys
  • Life span: 6-13 years
  • Size: 6.7-7.9 in / 17-20 cm
  • Weight: 0.9-1.4 oz / 26-40 g
  • Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in / 25-30 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and uncommon

A striking bird found across North America, the White-crowned Sparrow is easily identified by its bold black and white stripes on the head. Its back is a mix of brown and gray, with wings that show dark brown streaks.

The breast and belly are a plain gray, providing a stark contrast to the vivid head markings. This bird is often found in flocks, especially during migration, adding a vibrant presence to the landscapes it traverses.

A White-Crowned Sparrow sitting in a tree showing off its namesake crowned head

These sparrows build nests either on the ground or in low shrubs, using grasses and twigs. The neat, cup-shaped nests are emblematic of their precise and careful nature, often hidden in plain sight.

Their diet consists of seeds, grains, and insects. In Indiana, they’re often seen foraging in flocks, especially during migration, embodying a sense of community and shared purpose.

In Indiana, White-crowned Sparrows are not under significant threat. Conservation efforts focus broadly on maintaining healthy ecosystems, ensuring these striking birds continue to thrive and enchant birdwatchers each year.

16. Lincoln’s Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Melospiza lincolnii
  • Life span: 3-5 years
  • Size: 4.7-5.9 in / 12-15 cm
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz / 12-18 g
  • Wingspan: 7.1-7.9 in / 18-20 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and uncommon

The Lincoln’s Sparrow, a less common sight in North America’s thickets and marshy areas, possesses a refined elegance. Its fine, streaked plumage in shades of brown, gray, and buff creates a soft, blurred effect.

The face features a buffy eye-ring and a subtle gray eyebrow stripe, adding to its delicate appearance. This bird’s understated beauty makes it a delight for birdwatchers who can spot it among the dense vegetation.

An alertive Lincoln's Sparrow standing on sand

Lincoln’s Sparrows are secretive nesters, often choosing dense shrubbery or grass. Their nests, usually close to the ground, are meticulously constructed, reflecting their elusive and careful nature.

They primarily feed on insects and seeds. In Indiana, their foraging behavior in dense underbrush or along the water’s edge illustrates their adaptability and resourcefulness, crucial for survival in varied habitats.

These sparrows benefit from habitat conservation efforts in Indiana, particularly in maintaining dense thickets and wetlands. Their presence indicates the health of these habitats, serving as a natural barometer for environmental quality.

17. Fox Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Passerella iliaca
  • Life span: 3-6 years
  • Size: 6.7-7.9 in / 17-20 cm
  • Weight: 1.4-1.8 oz / 40-52 g
  • Wingspan: 10.2-11.8 in / 26-30 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and uncommon

The Fox Sparrow, a large and robust bird, inhabits the forests and thickets of North America. It is most notable for its rich, reddish-brown plumage, heavily marked with dark streaks and spots.

The thick bill and stout body give it a strong presence, especially noticeable as it vigorously kicks through leaf litter while foraging.

This Fox Sparrow seems to have spotted the cameraman

Fox Sparrows nest on the ground, often in dense thickets or under shrub cover. Their nests, well-hidden and robust, mirror their preference for secrecy and the protection offered by Indiana’s dense vegetation.

They primarily feed on insects and seeds, often foraging in leaf litter with a characteristic scratching motion. This behavior in Indiana’s forests and woodlands underscores their role as active participants in the ecosystem, aiding in nutrient recycling.

While not endangered, conservation efforts in Indiana focus on preserving woodland and thicket habitats, vital for the survival of the Fox Sparrow and other similar species.

18. Nelson’s Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Ammospiza nelsoni
  • Life span: 2-3 years
  • Size: 4.7-5.5 in / 12-14 cm
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz / 12-18 g
  • Wingspan: 6.7-7.5 in / 17-19 cm
  • Status: Near Threatened
  • State status: Migratory and uncommon

Nelson’s Sparrow, a bird of North America’s coastal marshes, has a unique, orange-brown face and breast, contrasting with gray cheeks. Its back is streaked with brown and black, and it has a short, sharp bill. This bird’s preference for dense marsh vegetation makes it a special sighting for bird enthusiasts exploring coastal habitats.

A Nelson's Sparrow clinging onto a reed

Nelson’s Sparrows, preferring marshy habitats, construct their nests above ground in dense vegetation. They create a cozy, well-concealed home, intertwining reeds and grasses, a testament to their adaptability.

These sparrows primarily feed on insects and some seeds. Indiana’s wetlands offer a smorgasbord of aquatic insects and seeds, providing a nutritious and varied diet for these adaptable birds.

Nelson’s Sparrow faces challenges like wetland degradation. Indiana’s conservation efforts focus on preserving and restoring these vital habitats, ensuring that the unique chirps of Nelson’s Sparrows continue to resonate across the state’s wetlands.

19. Clay-coloured Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Spizella pallida
  • Life span: 4-7 years
  • Size: 4.7-5.9 in / 12-15 cm
  • Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz / 12-20 g
  • Wingspan: 7.1-7.9 in / 18-20 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and uncommon

The Clay-coloured Sparrow, found in the open shrublands of North America, exhibits a unique, pale tan and gray plumage. Its crown and back are streaked with darker shades, while the underparts remain a cleaner, lighter color.

The distinctive, buzzy song of this sparrow is as memorable as its subtle yet striking appearance.

A Clay-Coloured Sparrow enjoying the evening sun

Clay-coloured Sparrows craft intricate nests, usually low in bushes or trees. They meticulously weave grasses, lining them with finer materials, creating a snug, cup-like haven for their eggs.

These petite birds have a penchant for seeds and insects. Summer finds them darting through fields, picking at grass seeds, while insects like beetles and caterpillars become their delicacies in breeding season, fuelling their energetic lives.

The Clay-coloured Sparrow, a subtle beauty, faces threats from habitat loss. Conservationists in Indiana work tirelessly to preserve grasslands, ensuring these birds continue to trill their distinct, buzzy songs for generations to come.

20. LeConte’s Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Ammospiza leconteii
  • Life span: 2-3 years
  • Size: 4.3-5.1 in / 11-13 cm
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz / 12-18 g
  • Wingspan: 5.9-6.7 in / 15-17 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and rare

LeConte’s Sparrow, a bird of North America’s tall grass prairies, is a small, secretive bird. It has an orange-brown face with a gray nape, and its back is streaked with brown and buff. The overall soft, buffy coloration allows it to blend seamlessly into its grassy habitat, making it a challenge to spot.

This fellow seems to be doing its morning gymnastics

LeConte’s Sparrows choose dense grasslands for their nesting sites. These birds create hidden, ground-level nests, weaving a home that merges seamlessly with the natural tapestry of Indiana’s meadows.

Primarily insectivorous, LeConte’s Sparrows also enjoy seeds. Indiana’s rich grasslands provide them with a bounty of insects and seeds, sustaining them through the changing Midwestern seasons.

LeConte’s Sparrow is another victim of habitat loss. Indiana’s conservationists are working to preserve and restore native grasslands, striving to ensure these elusive birds continue to grace the state with their presence

Where to find Sparrows in Indiana

In Indiana, finding sparrows involves exploring a variety of habitats, as these birds are adaptable and can be found in numerous environments.

Key locations include woodlands, grasslands, and urban areas, each attracting different sparrow species.

To increase your chances of spotting these birds, consider visiting:

  • Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, which is a well-known hotspot for birdwatching, attracting a variety of sparrow species.
  • Indiana Dunes National Park, where the unique landscape of dunes, forests, and wetlands provides a habitat for diverse bird species.
  • Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, famous for its large wetlands, which serve as a crucial stopover for migratory birds.
  • Brown County State Park, offering dense forested areas ideal for woodland sparrows.

When birdwatching, it’s best to start early in the morning when birds are most active. Quiet observation and patience are essential. Equip yourself with binoculars and a field guide to enhance your birdwatching experience, and consider joining local birdwatching groups or events for guided experiences. Remember, each environment supports different sparrow species, so visiting a range of locations will maximize your chances of observing a variety of sparrows.


Indiana’s diverse habitats make it a fantastic destination for sparrow enthusiasts. From the bustling urban parks to serene wetlands and dense forests, each area offers a unique glimpse into the world of these fascinating birds.

Whether you’re an experienced birder or a curious nature lover, Indiana’s sparrows provide a delightful and educational experience, highlighting the importance of preserving natural habitats for the survival and appreciation of these charming avian species.

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