• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer
Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Nelson's Sparrow

Ammodramus nelsoni ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: EMBERIZIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A secretive sparrow with a brightly-colored face, the Nelson's Sparrow breeds along the edges of freshwater marshes and in wet meadows of interior North America, and in salt marshes along the northern Atlantic Coast.

Subscribe to Living Bird Magazine
2013 PromotionSponsored Ad

Appearance

Sparrows
Sparrows
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Small, stocky songbird.
  • Orange-yellow face.
  • Gray ear patch.
  • Smudgy streaks on breast and flanks.
  • Short, rounded tail with pointed tail feathers.

Immature Description

Juvenile orangish all over, with a few black streaks on sides of chest.

Range Map Help

Nelson
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

  • Saltmarsh Sparrow very similar, but has whiter chest with crisp dark streaks on chest and sides.
  • Seaside Sparrow larger, grayer, less strongly marked, with small yellow patch in front of eyes.
  • Savannah Sparrow has striped head and notched tail.
  • Le Conte's Sparrow with white central crown stripe, purplish spots and streaks on nape, and small grayish face patch.