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Merlin Bird ID

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    White-crowned Sparrow

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    White-crowned Sparrow

    Zonotrichia leucophrys
    • ORDER: Passeriformes
    • FAMILY: Passerellidae
    Basic Description

    White-crowned Sparrows appear each winter over much of North America to grace our gardens and favorite trails (they live in parts of the West year-round). The smart black-and-white head, pale beak, and crisp gray breast combine for a dashing look – and make it one of the surest sparrow identifications in North America. Watch for flocks of these sparrows scurrying through brushy borders and overgrown fields, or coax them into the open with backyard feeders. As spring approaches, listen out for this bird’s thin, sweet whistle.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for White-crowned SparrowRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    The White-crowned Sparrow is a winter bird across much of the U.S (exceptions are the West Coast and mountains of the West). Start looking for these birds to arrive sometime in September, and they’ll be in fields, along roadsides, in low foliage at trail edges, or hopping around the margins of your yard until March or April.

    Other Names
    • Gorrión Corona Blanca (Spanish)
    • Bruant à couronne blanche (French)

    Backyard Tips

    White-crowned Sparrows come to feeders for sunflower and other kinds of seeds – though they may be more likely to stay on the ground eating seeds dropped by other birds. Making a brush pile in your yard is another good way to encourage this species to spend more time in your yard. 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.

    • Cool Facts