Clay-colored Sparrow

Spizella pallida





Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Blue green with dark brown and black markings

Number of Eggs:

3 - 5

Incubation Days:

10 - 12

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

0 - 5 feet above ground., On grassy tussock sheltered by bush.

Nest Material:

Sticks, grass, forbs, and rootlets, with lining of mammal hair and rootlets.





Clay-colored Sparrow: Medium-sized sparrow with black-streaked brown upperparts and buff underparts. Face is pale with finely streaked crown, crisp brown cheek patch, white eyestripe, and gray nape. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is heavily streaked with buff wash on face, flanks, and wings.

Range and Habitat

Clay-colored Sparrow: This species breeds from the Northwest Territories through central Canada and the Great Lakes region south and from Montana east to New England. Spends winters from southern California and Texas south throughout Mexico. Its preferred habitats include brushy grasslands and prairies.

Breeding and Nesting

Clay-colored Sparrow: Three to five blue green eggs, marked with dark brown and black, are laid in a bulky cup of hair-lined grass built in a bush or clump of weeds up to 6 feet above the ground. Incubation ranges from 10 to 12 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Clay-colored Sparrow: Diet consists of seeds and insects; forages on the ground or low in trees.


Clay-colored Sparrow: Individuals frequently utter a "tsip" call, used for several purposes. Alarm call is louder and sharper, rendered as "chip." Song is a series of 4 or 5 toneless, insect-like buzzes.

Similar Species

Clay-colored Sparrow: Brewer's Sparrow lacks white central crown stripe, dark cheek borders, distinct eye-line, and gray nape. 


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X