White-crowned Sparrow Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    The White-crowned Sparrow is a large sparrow with a small bill and a long tail. The head can look distinctly peaked or smooth and flat, depending on the bird’s attitude.

    Relative Size

    Slightly larger than a Song Sparrow

    Relative Sizesparrow or smallersparrow-sized or smaller
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 5.9-6.3 in (15-16 cm)
      • Weight: 0.9-1.0 oz (25-28 g)
      • Wingspan: 8.3-9.4 in (21-24 cm)

Regional Differences

White-crowned Sparrows that breed along the Pacific Coast tend to have yellow bills and duller white head stripes. Birds that breed from Alaska to Hudson Bay tend to have orange bills and white or gray lores. Birds that breed east of Hudson Bay and in the Rockies tend to have pink bills with black lores that merge with the black head stripes.

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