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    Savannah Sparrow Identification

    The Four Keys to ID

    • Size & Shape

      Savannah Sparrows are medium-sized sparrows with short, notched tails. The head appears small for the plump body, and the crown feathers often flare up to give the bird’s head a small peak. The thick-based, seed-eating bill is small for a sparrow.

      Relative Size

      About the size of a Song Sparrow.

      Relative Sizesparrow or smallersparrow-sized or smaller
      • Both Sexes
        • Length: 4.3-5.9 in (11-15 cm)
        • Weight: 0.5-1.0 oz (15-28 g)
        • Wingspan: 7.9-8.7 in (20-22 cm)

    Regional Differences

    The many subspecies of Savannah Sparrow can range from pale gray-brown to rusty overall. “Ipswich” Savannah Sparrows, which breed on islands in maritime Canada and winter along the East Coast, are large and pale gray-brown overall. “Belding’s” Savannah Sparrows from saltmarshes of Southern California and Mexico are very dark brown, almost blackish. The range-restricted “Large-billed” Savannah Sparrow of Mexico barely enters the United States in southern California; it has a much heavier bill than other forms of the species. All subspecies show thin, crisp streaking on the underparts and usually have yellow in front of the eye.