White-crowned Sparrow

Zonotrichia leucophrys

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Emberizids (Emberizidae)

Code 4

WCSP

Code 6

ZONLEU

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The White-crowned Sparrow is a medium-sized sparrow which is found in North America. Preferred breeding habitats of the species include brushlands found in northern Canada and the western United States. Nests are built in low bushes or on the ground, camouflaged by low vegetation. Northern populations will migrate in winter months to the southern United States. They are rarely occurring in western Europe. Food is found on the ground or gleaned from bushes. Flying insects may be caught mid-flight, but diets consist mainly of seeds, vegetation and other insects. The conservation rating for the White-crowned Sparrow is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

White-crowned Sparrow: Medium-sized sparrow with brown-streaked upperparts, small white throat patch, and plain gray underparts. The white crown has distinct black lines. Wings are brown with two pale bars. Short flights, alternates rapid wing beats with brief periods of the wings pulled to sides.


Range and Habitat

White-crowned Sparrow: Breeds from Alaska and Manitoba east to Labrador and Newfoundland, and south into the western mountains to northern New Mexico and central California. Winters in southern British Columbia, Idaho, and Nebraska south to Mexico and east to the Atlantic. Preferred nesting habitats include dense brush near open grasslands. During winter, occurs in open woods and gardens.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"poor-wet-wetter-chee-zee", "pink", "tseek"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The White-crowned Sparrow is one of the best-studied songbirds in North America. Much of our knowledge of bird song and development is based on studies of this species.
  • Because males learn the songs they grew up with and do not travel far from where they were raised, song dialects frequently form. Males on the edge of two dialects may be bilingual and able to sing both dialects.
  • Four of the five subspecies are migratory. The sedentary race lives in a very narrow band along the California coast.
  • A group of sparrows has many collective nouns, including a "crew", "flutter", "meinie", "quarrel", and "ubiquity" of sparrows.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for White-crowned Sparrow

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
CrownX
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X