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Song Sparrow

Melospiza melodia ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: EMBERIZIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Song Sparrow Photo

A rich, russet-and-gray bird with bold streaks down its white chest, the Song Sparrow is one of the most familiar North American sparrows. Don’t let the bewildering variety of regional differences this bird shows across North America deter you: it’s one of the first species you should suspect if you see a streaky sparrow in an open, shrubby, or wet area. If it perches on a low shrub, leans back, and sings a stuttering, clattering song, so much the better.

Birds of North America Online
Be a Better Birder Tutorial 4

Find This Bird

In spring and summer, Song Sparrows are one of the most conspicuous of all sparrows. Males sing often, perching around eye level on exposed branches. Also watch for Song Sparrows moving along wetland edges, ducking into dense, low vegetation after short bursts of their distinctive, tail-pumping flight.

Get Involved

What's That Sparrow? ID tips from the Great Backyard Bird Count

Keep track of the Song Sparrows at your feeder with Project FeederWatch

Look for Song Sparrow nests and contribute valuable data about them through NestWatch

Researcher "Sings" for a Living to Decode Bird Songs (Cornell Chronicle)

You Might Also Like

Explore sounds and video of Song Sparrows from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Macaulay Library archive

Downloadable "Common Feeder Birds" poster from Project FeederWatch (PDF)

Song Sparrow from Bent's Life Histories of North American Birds (1968)