Swamp Sparrow Identification

The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A medium-sized sparrow with a short, conical bill, a compact, robust body, and a moderately long tail. The overall shape is quite similar to the widespread Song Sparrow.

    Relative Size

    Slightly larger than a Chipping Sparrow, slightly smaller than a White-throated Sparrow.

    Relative Sizesparrow or smallersparrow-sized or smaller
    Measurements
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm)
      • Weight: 0.5-0.8 oz (15-23 g)
      • Wingspan: 7.1-7.5 in (18-19 cm)

Regional Differences

Swamp Sparrows in the northern and western parts of the range are lighter than those in the south and east. The "Coastal Plain" subspecies nigrescens, which breeds in the mid-Atlantic states, is more blackish in the head and nape than the other two subspecies, ericrypta of Canada and northern Minnesota and the very widespread georgiana.