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Swamp Sparrow

Melospiza georgiana ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: EMBERIZIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The simple trills of the Swamp Sparrow ring in spring and summer across eastern and central North America. Its name is appropriate, as it does live in swamps, but it can be found in a wide range of other wetland habitats too.

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
4.7–5.5 in
12–14 cm
Wingspan
7.1–7.5 in
18–19 cm
Weight
0.4–0.8 oz
11–24 g
Other Names
  • Bruant des marais (French)
  • Gorrión pantanero (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Swamp Sparrow has longer legs than other members of its genus; this adaptation allows it to wade in shallow water to forage.
  • The Swamp Sparrow sometimes sticks its head under water to try to capture aquatic invertebrates.
  • The oldest recorded Swamp Sparrow was at least 7 years, 10 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Maryland.

Habitat


Marsh

Various wetlands, including freshwater and tidal marshes, bogs, meadows, and swamps.

Food


Insects

Seeds, fruits, and aquatic invertebrates.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
2–6 eggs
Egg Description
Bluish green with spots and blotches.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless with sparse dark brown down.
Nest Description

A bulky open cup of dry grasses, sedges, plant stalks, and leaves, lined with fine grass, plant fibers, and occasionally hair. Placed in dense cattails, grass, or shrubs; some on ground.

Nest Placement

Shrub

Behavior


Ground Forager

Feeds at water's edge, picking invertebrates from mud or surface of water.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Swamp Sparrow populations appear to be stable, with a small increase between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimated a global breeding population of 30 million, with 76% spending part of the year in the U.S., 91% in Canada, and 23% in Mexico. The species rates a 6 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Swamp Sparrow is a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species and is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. The long-term prospects of this sparrow will depend on wetland conservation.

Credits

Range Map Help

Swamp Sparrow Range Map
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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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