Savannah Sparrow Identification

Looking for ID Help?

Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds.

Try Merlin Bird ID

The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    Savannah Sparrows are medium-sized sparrows with short, notched tails. The head appears small for the plump body, and the crown feathers often flare up to give the bird’s head a small peak. The thick-based, seed-eating bill is small for a sparrow.

    Relative Size

    About the size of a Song Sparrow.

    Relative Sizesparrow or smallersparrow-sized or smaller
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 4.3-5.9 in (11-15 cm)
      • Weight: 0.5-1.0 oz (15-28 g)
      • Wingspan: 7.9-8.7 in (20-22 cm)

Regional Differences

The many subspecies of Savannah Sparrow can range from pale gray-brown to rusty overall. “Ipswich” Savannah Sparrows, which breed on islands in maritime Canada and winter along the East Coast, are large and pale gray-brown overall. “Belding’s” Savannah Sparrows from saltmarshes of Southern California and Mexico are darker with heavier streaking and a thinner crown stripe. The range-restricted “Large-billed” Savannah Sparrow of Mexico barely enters the United States in southern California; it has a much heavier bill than other forms of the species. All subspecies show thin, crisp streaking on the underparts and usually have yellow in front of the eye.

Need Bird ID Help? Try Merlin