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Chipping Sparrow


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A crisp, pretty sparrow whose bright rufous cap both provides a splash of color and makes adults fairly easy to identify. Chipping Sparrows are common across North America wherever trees are interspersed with grassy openings. Their loud, trilling songs are one of the most common sounds of spring woodlands and suburbs.


Male Chipping Sparrows sing a long, dry trill of evenly spaced, almost mechanical-sounding chips. It’s one of the most common sounds of open woods in spring – but be careful, because Dark-eyed Juncos sound very similar (though a bit more musical) and often live in the same habitats. Songs are about 3.6 seconds long on average, consisting of around 55 nearly identical chip notes in a row.


  • High tsi call
  • Call
  • Courtesy of Macaulay Library
    © Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Year round, both sexes use a single chip note to stay in contact with others. Upon sighting a hawk, Chipping Sparrows give a long zeeeee call as an alarm. During courtship, females make a soft, rapid see-see-see-see to attract the attention of her mate.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Backyard Tips

Chipping Sparrows will eat many kinds of birdseed, particularly black oil sunflower seeds from feeders, but also seed mixes scattered on the ground. Shrubs or small trees in your yard may entice Chipping Sparrows to build a nest.

This species often comes to bird feeders. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

Find This Bird

Particularly in fall and winter, watch for small flocks of Chipping Sparrows feeding on open ground near trees. In spring and summer, listen for the male’s long, loud trill, then look for the male in the upper branches of a nearby tree.

Get Involved

Watch your feeders this winter and send your counts of Chipping Sparrows and other birds to Project FeederWatch

Enhance your yard to attract sparrows and other birds. Visit our web pages on landscaping for birds

Learn more about bird photography in our Take Photos section. Then contribute your images to the Birdshare flickr site, which helps supply All About Birds and our other websites with photos.

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Tricky IDs: Chipping Sparrow and American Tree Sparrow



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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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