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Brewer's Sparrow

Spizella breweri ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: EMBERIZIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Brewer’s Sparrows are at first glance so subtly marked that they’ve been called the “bird without a field mark.” These streaky, gray-brown sparrows are notable for their reliance on sagebrush breeding habitat, and their plumage is elegantly tuned to their muted, gray-green home. They’re the most abundant bird across the vast sagebrush steppe, and their long, trilling songs are a signature sound of the landscape. A markedly different subspecies lives among the stunted trees and shrubs at timberline in Canadian mountains.

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Find This Bird

Brewer’s Sparrows are habitat specialists, so the first step in finding them is to find their habitat. In spring or early summer, head out into the sagebrush early in the morning and listen for a male to sing his long, trilled song. You may also spot a small, gray-brown bird unobtrusively foraging within or on the ground below a clump of sagebrush. In winter, visit desert grasslands, where there are sometimes large flocks of several species of sparrows, including Brewer’s.

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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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