28 Sparrows in Texas (With Pictures)

28 Sparrows in Texas (With Pictures)

Texas, known for its vast landscapes, is also a haven for a variety of sparrow species. Often overshadowed by more colourful and charismatic birds, these unassuming creatures play a vital role in the state’s ecosystems.

With a range of habitats including urban centres, grasslands, and shrublands, Texas provides a unique opportunity to study the behaviours and adaptations of over twenty sparrow species.

This article delves into the lives of Texan sparrows, shedding light on their distinctive characteristics. From the adaptable House Sparrow, a common sight in cityscapes, to the Grasshopper Sparrow, quietly residing in open fields, each species has evolved to thrive in its environment.

By examining their dietary habits, nesting behaviours, and migratory patterns, we gain insight into how these unpretentious birds contribute to the intricate balance of Texas’ wildlife. Join us as we explore the often-overlooked world of sparrows, appreciating their subtle but significant presence in the Texan wilderness.

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

The Song Sparrow, found throughout North America, delights with its melodious tunes in meadows, woodlands, and gardens. Sporting a medley of earthy tones, including warm browns and rich chestnuts, its plumage is adorned with delicate streaks and a rufous cap.

Notably charming, this little troubadour captures hearts while perched on swaying branches. Interestingly, every Song Sparrow possesses a distinct song, with subtle variations inherited over generations.

Song Sparrow

These sparrows construct intricate nests either on the ground or low in shrubs, skillfully weaving together grasses, leaves, and various materials to create a snug and secure shelter. These nests provide a safe haven for their young, nestled within the surrounding vegetation.

With a varied diet, Song Sparrows consume insects, seeds, berries, and even small crustaceans. Their foraging behaviour involves scratching through leaf litter and probing the soil in search of hidden treats.

Despite their widespread presence, Song Sparrows have encountered habitat loss due to urbanization and agricultural activities. Conservation endeavours concentrate on safeguarding and rehabilitating wetlands and grasslands, which hold significant importance as habitats for these endearing birds.

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

Introduced from Europe, the House Sparrow thrives in North American cities, nesting in eaves and bustling through streets. With vibrant chestnut, grey, and black plumage, highlighted by white accents on wings and cheeks, these sociable sparrows adapt well to human presence, forming lively communities filled with energetic chirps.

A House Sparrow sitting on a plank

Renowned for their adaptable nesting habits, House Sparrows craft haphazard nests in diverse spots like tree hollows, birdhouses, and even urban structures, reflecting their opportunistic character.

As versatile feeders, they have a varied diet, consisting mainly of seeds and grains, yet including scavenged food scraps, insects, and even small vertebrates.

Hailing from Europe, House Sparrows have prospered in urban and rural settings. Despite their abundance, worries emerge due to their aggressive tendencies towards native birds and competition for nesting sites, prompting concerns for native species preservation.

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

The Swamp Sparrow, a captivating dweller of wetlands, graces North American marshes with its alluring aura. Its plumage weaves rich browns, highlighted by reddish wings and a hint of cream on the throat.

Moving effortlessly through dense vegetation, these sparrows maintain an air of secrecy with their delicate hops and swift motions amid cattails.

A Swamp Sparrow sitting on a reed

In the heart of wetlands and marshes, Swamp Sparrows construct cup-shaped nests concealed within dense vegetation. Utilizing a mixture of grasses, sedges, and plant materials, they adeptly blend their nests with the natural surroundings.

Their diet is diverse, comprising insects, seeds, and aquatic invertebrates. As adept foragers, they gracefully hop along water’s edges or probe through vegetation to locate nourishment.

Dependent on wetland habitats, which have suffered from human impact, Swamp Sparrows face challenges. Conservation initiatives center around preserving and reviving wetlands while promoting sustainable land-use practices, crucial for safeguarding their essential breeding and wintering grounds.

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

The Dark-eyed Junco, a delightful guest in North America, enchants with its unique demeanour and playful character. Spanning diverse terrains, from snow-clad mountain slopes to intimate backyard gardens, these captivating sparrows infuse any scene with a touch of grace.

Their plumage presents a suave fusion of charcoal grey and pristine white, while their vivid pinkish bills provide a charming burst of colour. Famed for their cheerful “tinkling” calls, these juncos flutter in lively flocks, leaving traces of happiness wherever they venture.

A Dark-Eyed Junco looking for food

They establish their nests on the ground, often concealed beneath shrubs or sheltered by fallen logs. Using grasses, leaves, and natural materials, they craft cozy cup-shaped nests that provide a snug sanctuary for their offspring.

Dark-eyed Juncos embrace a diverse diet encompassing seeds, insects, and small invertebrates. Their nimble foraging involves hopping and scratching through leaf litter to unearth hidden treasures.

This species holds a widespread and common status, thriving in diverse habitats. With stable populations, conservation initiatives concentrate on safeguarding their favoured environments, like forests and woodlands, ensuring their enduring presence in Texas’s avian landscape.

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

The White-throated Sparrow, a charming inhabitant of North America, captivates with its refined elegance and melodious song. These notable sparrows inhabit woodlands, brushy spaces, and suburban gardens alike.

Dressed in a remarkable black and white ensemble, accentuated by a vibrant yellow spot between the eyes and a distinct white throat patch, their appearance is striking. Their hauntingly sweet whistle serves as an elegant proclamation of their presence.

A plump White-Throated Sparrow sitting in a tree

Their nests are crafted on or near the ground, often nestled beneath shrubs or within dense vegetation, displaying skillful weaving of grasses, twigs, and leaves to establish a robust and concealed structure.

This species sustains an omnivorous diet, encompassing seeds, berries, insects, and even small snails. Their foraging habits encompass ground scratching, pecking at foliage, and the occasional hop to pluck berries from shrubs.

White-throated Sparrows are abundant and adaptable, thriving in varied habitats such as forests, woodlands, and suburban settings. With generally stable populations, conservation endeavours are channelled into safeguarding and managing suitable habitats to secure their lasting presence.

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

As a winter guest in North America, the American Tree Sparrow displays a tenacious demeanour and captivating charm against frosty backdrops. These stylish sparrows journey from the Arctic tundra to woodlands and shrubby expanses throughout the continent.

Adorned with a cozy reddish-brown cap and a contrasting grey breast, they seamlessly blend into their snowy environment. Their gentle trills and twittering infuse winter scenes with vitality.

An American Tree Sparrow sitting on a stick

Breeding in northern territories, American Tree Sparrows do not typically establish nests in Texas. They construct cup-shaped shelters utilizing grasses, moss, and twigs, often discreetly placed within low shrubs or concealed on the ground.

During winters, these sparrows prioritize seeds in their diet, particularly relying on grass and weed seeds. Insects and berries also form part of their menu when accessible.

As migratory birds, they venture to northern Texas for the winter season. With generally stable populations, conservation initiatives aim to maintain suitable winter habitats—such as open fields and brushy areas—where they locate nourishment and refuge during their seasonal stay.

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

The Chipping Sparrow, a charming inhabitant of North America, captivates with its lively character and cheerful demeanour. Thriving in woodlands, parks, and gardens, these spirited sparrows infuse every setting with a dynamic vitality.

Their vibrant trilling songs, resonating clearly through the trees, fill the atmosphere with melodious notes. Cloaked in earthy shades of warm brown, their plumage is crowned by a distinctive rusty cap, adding a playful touch to their appearance.

A Chipping Sparrow sitting on a branch

The Chipping Sparrow constructs compact cup-shaped nests with precision, often nestled within tree or shrub branches. Meticulously weaving grasses, fine twigs, and rootlets, they create a snug dwelling for their young.

Their diet is diverse, encompassing insects, spiders, seeds, and berries. Employing a hopping motion on the ground and branches, they adeptly use their sharp beaks to secure small prey and seeds.

This species is notably abundant and widespread, maintaining stable populations. Adaptable to various environments such as woodlands, gardens, and urban parks, conservation endeavours center on preserving suitable nesting locations and promoting healthy ecosystems that sustain their food sources.

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

Residing in the eastern United States, the Eastern Towhee captivates with its vivid demeanour and eye-catching looks. Thriving in shrubby habitats and forest edges, these spirited sparrows declare their presence with their distinctive “drink-your-tea” call.

Their attire is a dramatic display of black on their back and head, enhanced by deep rufous sides and a lively white underbelly. Employing spirited scratching and hopping, they diligently explore beneath fallen leaves to uncover concealed gems.

An Eastern Towhee sitting on a metal wall

Eastern Towhees establish their nests either on or close to the ground, cleverly concealed within thick vegetation or shrubs. Using twigs, leaves, and rootlets, they meticulously construct a hidden shelter, ensuring a safe refuge for their eggs and young.

Their diet is diverse, encompassing insects, spiders, seeds, fruits, and occasionally small reptiles or amphibians. With their robust beaks, they adeptly scratch and probe the ground for sustenance.

While their populations remain stable, the potential threats of habitat loss and fragmentation loom. To counter these challenges, conservation endeavours concentrate on preserving and revitalizing suitable shrubby habitats, pivotal for their nesting and foraging endeavours.

9. 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

Residing in North American open fields and grasslands, the Savannah Sparrow beguiles with its understated allure and captivating aura. Adorned in a palette of inviting browns and greys, its plumage mirrors the gentle tones of its prairie home.

A medley of trills and buzzes constitute their songs, carrying over the grassy expanse to announce their presence to keen listeners.

A Savannah Sparrow hiding in the grass

This species constructs their nests on the ground, often concealed amidst grassy or shrubby environments. Their skillful artistry crafts a shallow cup-shaped structure using grasses and plant stems, expertly blending it into the nearby vegetation.

Savannah Sparrows boast a varied diet, including seeds, insects, spiders, and small invertebrates. Employing their pointed bills, they diligently forage amid low vegetation and on the ground, actively seeking hidden prey and seeds.

While common in Texas, their populations can be impacted by habitat loss, particularly through grassland and coastal area conversions. Conservation initiatives are channelled into safeguarding and revitalizing appropriate grassland and marsh habitats, imperative for their nesting and foraging requirements.

10. 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

Found across North America, the Grasshopper Sparrow inhabits grasslands and prairies. With a streaked back and a buff-coloured breast, it blends into its surroundings. Its song, resembling a grasshopper’s buzz, resonates through the grasses, marking its territory.

A Grasshopper Sparrow sitting on a plant

The Grasshopper Sparrow, commonly found in Texas grasslands, constructs its nests close to the ground, carefully hidden within the vegetation. Its preference for concealed nesting helps protect its young from potential predators.

This sparrow’s diet comprises insects and seeds, reflecting its habitat of grassy plains. By feeding on a variety of insects, it contributes to the balance of its ecosystem.

Conservation initiatives have focused on preserving grassland habitats, a crucial requirement for the Grasshopper Sparrow’s survival. Historically, urbanization and agriculture have led to habitat loss, emphasizing the need for continued efforts to protect its homes.

11. 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

Inhabiting grassy areas of North America, the Henslow’s Sparrow is unassuming. Its subtle plumage features olive tones and intricate streaks on the back. Its secretive nature makes it a challenge to spot, and its distinctive “dzink” call is often heard from the tall grasses.

Close up photo of a Henslow’s Sparrow

The Henslow’s Sparrow, a secretive species found in Texas grasslands, constructs its nests near the ground, often nestled within dense grasses. This nest placement provides shelter for its brood and helps keep them concealed from predators.

Its diet primarily consists of insects and seeds, reflecting its grassland habitat. By foraging for insects, it contributes to pest control in its ecosystem.

The decline of grassland habitats due to agriculture has impacted the Henslow’s Sparrow. Conservation efforts have emphasized habitat restoration and management to ensure its continued presence in Texas grasslands.

12. 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

Found across North America, the Vesper Sparrow inhabits open fields and grassy areas. Its plumage is marked by a central breast spot and brown streaks on its back. It’s named for its evening song, which fills the air as the sun sets.

A Vesper Sparrow sitting in a pine tree

The Vesper Sparrow builds its nests on the ground, usually well-hidden within the grass. This behaviour helps protect its eggs and young from predators.

In its grassland habitat, the Vesper Sparrow primarily feeds on seeds and insects, contributing to the ecological balance of its environment.

Grassland preservation is vital for the Vesper Sparrow’s survival. Habitat loss due to agriculture and development has led to declines in its population, prompting conservation efforts to maintain suitable grassland habitats.

13. 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

The Lark Sparrow calls North America home, residing in open areas with shrubs. Its striking appearance features a striking facial pattern with a white stripe and black markings. It’s known for its complex and melodic song, resembling the larks of Europe.

Three Lark Sparrows sitting side by side on a branch

The Lark Sparrow, frequently found in Texas open areas, constructs its nests on the ground, often concealed beneath shrubs or grasses. Its nest placement provides both protection and camouflage.

In its diverse habitat, the Lark Sparrow feeds on insects and seeds, playing a role in controlling insect populations and supporting plant reproduction.

The Lark Sparrow’s habitat of open fields is vulnerable to development. Conservation efforts have emphasized the importance of maintaining these spaces to ensure the species’ survival.

14. 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

Inhabiting North America, the White-crowned Sparrow thrives in diverse habitats. With a distinctive white crown alternating with black stripes, its plumage is eye-catching. Its song, a memorable whistling tune, is recognized across its range.

A White-Crowned Sparrow sitting in a bush

The White-crowned Sparrow builds its nests within shrubs or low vegetation. Its nesting behaviour varies depending on its surroundings.

Its diet consists of seeds and insects, with some regional variations. Its foraging behaviour contributes to ecosystem balance.

Conservation initiatives highlight the need to protect diverse habitats, as the White-crowned Sparrow’s flexibility allows it to thrive in various environments.

15. 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

Across North America, the Lincoln’s Sparrow prefers dense vegetation near water. Its intricate plumage boasts brown tones with fine streaks. Its song is a series of sweet notes, often heard during its migratory journeys.

Close up photo of a Lincoln’s Sparrow

The Lincoln’s Sparrow, often found near Texas waterways, creates its nests in dense vegetation, providing a safe haven for its young.

In its riparian habitat, this sparrow feeds on insects and seeds, contributing to ecosystem health.

Conservation efforts focus on preserving and restoring riparian habitats, as well as promoting responsible land use to support the Lincoln’s Sparrow population.

16. 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

Inhabiting North America, the Fox Sparrow frequents woodlands and shrubby areas. Its large size and rich rufous plumage make it stand out. Its song is varied, resembling a musical phrase, and it’s known for its distinctive “chip” call.

A Fox Sparrow foraging on the snowy ground

The Fox Sparrow, commonly seen in Texas woodlands, constructs its nests in shrubby areas, blending them into the undergrowth for protection.

This sparrow’s diet includes insects and seeds, making it an essential player in woodland ecosystems.

Conservation initiatives emphasize the importance of maintaining healthy woodlands, as the Fox Sparrow’s survival depends on suitable habitat availability.

17. 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

Across North America, the Clay-coloured Sparrow dwells in shrubby habitats. Its subtle plumage features brownish tones and a pale crown. Its song is a series of notes, often described as a quiet trill.

A Clay-Coloured Sparrow enjoying the evening sun

The Clay-coloured Sparrow builds its nests within shrubs, using natural materials for concealment.

This sparrow feeds on seeds and insects, contributing to ecosystem dynamics.

Conservation efforts underline the need to preserve shrubby habitats, where the Clay-coloured Sparrow’s survival is intertwined with suitable vegetation.

18. 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

Found in North America’s grassy wetlands, the LeConte’s Sparrow has a cryptic appearance, with a buffy face and intricate streaks on its back. Its song, a series of short trills, is heard from its concealed habitat.

A LeConte’s Sparrow sitting on a fence

The LeConte’s Sparrow constructs its nests among grasses, creating a sheltered space for its young.

In its marshland habitat, this sparrow’s diet includes insects and seeds, impacting the marsh ecosystem.

Marshland preservation is pivotal for the LeConte’s Sparrow. Conservation efforts focus on maintaining these vital wetland habitats.

19. Bachman’s Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Peucaea aestivalis
  • Life span: 5-6 years
  • Size: 4.7-5.5 in / 12-14 cm
  • Weight: 0.5-0.8 oz / 14-22 g
  • Wingspan: 7.9-8.7 in / 20-22 cm
  • Status: Least Concern

Inhabiting southeastern North America, the Bachman’s Sparrow favours open woodlands and pine forests. Its plumage is marked by a distinct eye ring and warm tones. Its song, a simple and sweet melody, is a common sound in its range.

Close up photo of a Bachman’s Sparrow

he Bachman’s Sparrow, a native of Texas’s southeastern woodlands, builds nests using natural materials, often well-hidden within the foliage.

Insects and seeds form the Bachman’s Sparrow’s diet, reflecting its wooded habitat and contributing to the balance of its ecosystem.

Conservation efforts underscore the significance of preserving southeastern woodlands, which are crucial for the Bachman’s Sparrow’s survival. Historical habitat loss necessitates ongoing conservation initiatives to ensure its continued presence.

20. Black-throated Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Amphispiza bilineata
  • Life span: 3-5 years
  • Size: 5.5-6.3 in / 14-16 cm
  • Weight: 0.7-0.8 oz / 20-24 g
  • Wingspan: 7.9-8.7 in / 20-22 cm
  • Status: Least Concern

Native to arid regions of North America, the Black-throated Sparrow thrives in open spaces. Its bold black throat contrasts with its striking white face. Its song is a series of notes, often likened to a “soft chink.”

A Black-Throated Sparrow singing atop a desert shrub

The Black-throated Sparrow intricately constructs its nests with a keen eye for concealment. Ensconced within the protective embrace of desert vegetation, these nests become covert havens.

Its dietary choices mirror its arid habitat’s offerings: insects and seeds. Its resourceful foraging behaviour paints a vibrant brushstroke within the dynamic canvas of the desert ecosystem.

Facing the pressures of urbanization and development encroachment into its distinctive arid habitat, the Black-throated Sparrow embodies resilience and adaptation. Conservation initiatives take on the role of guardians, concentrated on maintaining the fragile equilibrium of the desert ecosystem that sustains this remarkable species.

21. Brewer’s Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Spizella breweri
  • Life span: 3-4 years
  • Size: 4.7-5.1 in / 12-13 cm
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz / 11-14 g
  • Wingspan: 7.1-7.5 in / 18-19 cm
  • Status: Least Concern

Inhabiting western North America, the Brewer’s Sparrow prefers open habitats. Its subtle plumage features streaks and a pale eye ring. Its song is a soft, rapid trill, a sound characteristic of its arid habitat.

This fellow seems to behave spotted the camera man

Brewer’s Sparrow weaves its nests within the expanse of open spaces. Often concealed within the protective embrace of shrubs or grasses, these nests become cryptic shelters within the openness.

Its culinary choices, a blend of insects and seeds, reflect the intricate tapestry of its habitat. The ecological relationships influenced by its foraging habits render it a vital player in its ecosystem’s story.

Historically impacted by grazing and agriculture, Brewer’s Sparrow has seen habitat decline. Conservation emphasizes preserving shrubby habitats in Texas’ western regions to support its population recovery.

22. Green-Tailed Towhee

  • Scientific name: Pipilo chlorurus
  • Life span: 6-7 years
  • Size: 6.3-7.5 in / 16-19 cm
  • Weight: 0.7-1.2 oz / 20-34 g
  • Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in / 25-30 cm
  • Status: Least Concern

Residing in western North America, the Green-tailed Towhee thrives in shrubby areas. Its vibrant greenish-yellow tail stands out against its brownish back. Its song is a series of clear notes, distinct in its habitat.

A Green-Tailed Towhee about to take a bath, dipping its green tail in a puddle

The Green-tailed Towhee crafts its nests within the very heart of shrubs. Utilizing the vegetation as both construction material and camouflage, its nests become a testament to resourcefulness.

Its culinary preferences, an eclectic mix of insects and seeds, contribute to the symphony of its shrubby habitat’s dynamics. Foraging activities weave threads into the ecological tapestry, each bite influencing the intricate web of life.

Conservation efforts revolve around preserving Texas’ unique shrubby habitats. Threats from urbanization underscore the urgency of safeguarding these spaces to secure the Green-tailed Towhee’s future.

23. Harris’s Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Zonotrichia querula
  • Life span: 4-5 years
  • Size: 6.7-7.5 in / 17-19 cm
  • Weight: 1.2-1.5 oz / 34-43 g
  • Wingspan: 10.6-11.8 in / 27-30 cm
  • Status: Least Concern

Native to North America, the Harris’s Sparrow prefers shrubby areas and woodlands. Its large size and striking facial pattern with a dark crown make it distinctive. Its song is a series of clear whistles.

A Harris’s Sparrow couple enjoying their time together on a stick

Amid the woodlands of Texas, the Harris’s Sparrow meticulously constructs its nests within the embrace of dense undergrowth. This choice offers the young a secure sanctuary within the intricate world of leaves and branches.

Its diet is primarily composed of insects and seeds, contributing to its role within the woodland ecosystem by maintaining a balanced interaction between various components.

Woodland conservation initiatives align with Harris’s Sparrow protection. Addressing habitat fragmentation concerns through preservation and connectivity strategies ensures the continuation of this woodland resident’s presence.

24. Lark Bunting

  • Scientific name: Calamospiza melanocorys
  • Life span: 4-7 years
  • Size: 5.1-6.3 in / 13-16 cm
  • Weight: 1.1-1.3 oz / 31-37 g
  • Wingspan: 9.4-10.2 in / 24-26 cm
  • Status: Near Threatened

Found in North America’s prairies, the Lark Bunting is known for its distinctive black and white plumage. During breeding, males sport a striking all-black look. Its song is a series of varied trills and warbles.

A Lark Bunting sitting on a wooden pole

It weaves its nests amidst the sea of grasses. Melding seamlessly with the landscape, these nests echo a blend of construction and camouflage.

Its menu, rich in insects and seeds, flavours the narrative of grassland life. The Lark Bunting’s foraging activities contribute to the complex choreography of its ecosystem.

Loss of grassland habitat affects the Lark Bunting. Conservation endeavours extend to the preservation of open spaces and emphasize the indispensable role of Texas’ grasslands in its conservation.

25. Rufous Crowned Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Aimophila ruficeps
  • Life span: 4-5 years
  • Size: 4.7-5.9 in / 12-15 cm
  • Weight: 0.5-0.6 oz / 14-17 g
  • Wingspan: 7.1-7.9 in / 18-20 cm
  • Status: Least Concern

Inhabiting southwestern North America, the Rufous-crowned Sparrow prefers arid regions. Its plumage showcases rufous tones on its crown and a subtle facial pattern. Its song is a simple, repeating trill.

A Rufous Crowned Sparrow sitting on a small rock

In the heart of Texas’ arid regions, the Rufous-crowned Sparrow, an emblem of adaptation, weaves its nests shrouded within the desert terrain. The nests’ hidden embrace is a tribute to survival strategies honed over time.

The sparrow’s diet, a harmony of insects and seeds, mirrors its arid habitat’s offerings. Each morsel it consumes shapes the dynamic interplay of its ecological role.

Habitat degradation marks the conservation history of the Rufous-crowned Sparrow. Ongoing efforts concentrate on preserving Texas’ arid landscapes, highlighting the critical need to protect this unique desert habitat.

26. Sagebrush Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Artemisiospiza nevadensis
  • Life span: 2-3 years
  • Size: 5.1-5.9 in / 13-15 cm
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz / 11-14 g
  • Wingspan: 6.7-7.5 in / 17-19 cm
  • Status: Least Concern

Native to western North America, the Sagebrush Sparrow thrives in shrubby habitats. Its plumage features subtle streaks and warm tones. Its song is a soft and varied series of notes.

A Sagebrush Sparrow sitting in dry shrubbery

Among Texas’ shrubby domains, the Sagebrush Sparrow deftly weaves its nests within the very folds of the shrubs. This choice of location serves as both sanctuary and shelter, reflecting the savvy of its nesting strategy.

Insects and seeds are the pillars of its dietary choices, echoing the nature of its habitat. Each bite contributes to the health and balance of the ecosystem it calls home.

The Sagebrush Sparrow’s survival hinges on habitat preservation. Facing threats like habitat fragmentation and urbanization, conservation in Texas revolves around securing shrubby habitats that define its existence.

27. Seaside Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Ammospiza maritima        
  • Life span: 2-3 years
  • Size: 4.7-5.5 in / 12-14 cm    
  • Weight: 0.5-0.7 oz / 15-20 g
  • Wingspan: 7.1-7.9 in / 18-20 cm
  • Status: Least Concern

Residing along the coast of North America, the Seaside Sparrow prefers marshes and coastal areas. Its plumage features pale streaks on its back and a distinctive facial pattern. Its song is a series of sweet whistles.

A young Seaside Sparrow sittinig in reeds next to a lake

The Seaside Sparrow, native to Texas coastal areas, constructs its nests within marshes, integrating with the surrounding reeds. Hidden in the marsh fabric, these nests offer protection for its young amidst the coastal environment’s ebb and flow.

Reflecting its coastal habitat, the Seaside Sparrow’s diet encompasses insects and seeds. Each bite contributes to the intricate balance of the marsh ecosystem.

Coastal habitat loss is a pressing concern for the Seaside Sparrow. Conservation initiatives are centered on safeguarding Texas marshlands, recognizing their irreplaceable value in preserving this coastal species.

28. Spotted Towhee

  • Scientific name: Pipilo maculatus
  • Life span: 6-10 years
  • Size: 6.3-8.7 in / 16-22 cm
  • Weight: 1.1-1.5 oz / 31-43 g
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in / 20-25 cm
  • Status: Least Concern

Found in North America’s woodlands and shrubby areas, the Spotted Towhee is known for its striking black and white plumage. Its bold white spots on its wings stand out. Its song is a series of clear notes with variations.

A close up photo of a Spotted Towhee singing its song

Amid Texas’ woodlands, the Spotted Towhee strategically constructs its nests within shrubs or low vegetation, balancing security with concealment.

Insects and seeds shape the Spotted Towhee’s diet, woven into the narrative of woodland ecosystem dynamics. Its foraging patterns traverse the forest floor, contributing to its ecosystem’s mosaic.

Woodland conservation is integral to the Spotted Towhee’s survival in Texas. Protection against habitat loss is a priority as conservationists strive to maintain habitats that are essential for this species’ future.

Where to find Sparrows in Texas

To observe sparrows in Texas, explore a diverse range of habitats. Head to shrubby areas, grasslands, woodlands, and marshes for various species. Use binoculars and field guides to identify them accurately.

Four prime areas include:

  • Brazos Bend State Park
  • Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
  • Padre Island National Seashore
  • Big Bend National Park

Walk quietly, be patient, and listen for their distinct calls to increase your chances of spotting these resilient birds.


In the sprawling landscapes of Texas, sparrows epitomize the diverse and dynamic nature of avian life. From the coastal marshes to arid deserts, these adaptable birds paint a vivid tapestry of survival.

As we witness their resilience and understand their conservation needs, we are reminded of the delicate balance that sustains our shared ecosystems.

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