Saltmarsh Sparrow: Small sparrow with pale-streaked gray back, white throat, heavily streaked buff breast and sides, and white belly. Head has a dark cap, thick, orange-brown eyebrows and gray ear patches. Wings are gray with orange-brown shoulders. Tail is brown and pointed. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is duller and has less gray.
Range and Habitat
Saltmarsh Sparrow: Found in coastal salt marshes along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. They can also sometimes be found in brackish or freshwater marshes that are very near the coast. Breeds from Maine to Virginia and winters from North Carolina to Florida. Considered a permanent resident in parts of their normal range.
Breeding and Nesting
Saltmarsh Sparrow: Three to seven pale green eggs marked with red brown are laid in a nest made of reeds, grass, and seaweed, lined with finer materials, and built on the ground in grass or reeds. Eggs are incubated for 11 days by the female.
Foraging and Feeding
Saltmarsh Sparrow: Eats insects, seeds, small crustaceans, and snails; forages on the ground and in dense vegetation.
Sunflower Seed, Commercial Mixed Bird Seed
Saltmarsh Sparrow: Song is a soft, insect like "ts-ts-ssssss-tsik", while call is a sharp "chuck."
Saltmarsh Sparrow: Nelson's Sparrow has a shorter bill, less defined markings on head and around eye, and more intense buff on breast, sides, and flanks.