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Sagebrush Sparrow Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    Sagebrush Sparrows are small songbirds—medium-sized for sparrows—with a relatively long tail. The head is rounded and the bill is fairly short and thick.

    Relative Size

    About the size of a Song Sparrow; slightly larger than a Brewer’s Sparrow.

    Relative Sizesparrow or smallersparrow-sized or smaller

    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm)
      • Weight: 0.5-0.8 oz (15-22 g)

Regional Differences

The Sagebrush Sparrow was formerly considered one of five subspecies of the “Sage Sparrow." In 2013, Sage Sparrow was divided into two different species: one subspecies became the Sagebrush Sparrow, and the other four were classified as subspecies of Bell’s Sparrow. Bell's Sparrow has more subspecies and greater geographic variation because of their adaptability to a greater variety of habitat types and mountain ranges in and around California. The Sagebrush Sparrow, with somewhat paler plumage and longer wings (attributed to longer migrations), is fairly uniform across its broader range in the intermountain West of North America.