White-crowned Sparrow

Zonotrichia leucophrys





Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Light blue or green with red brown markings

Number of Eggs:

2 - 6

Incubation Days:

11 - 14

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On clump of grass or moss sheltered by bush, or small tree., 0 - 5 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Grasses, sticks, rootlets, and forbs.


Northern birds migrate



White-crowned Sparrow: Medium-sized sparrow with brown-streaked upperparts, small white throat patch, and plain gray underparts. White crown has distinct black lines. Wings are brown with two pale bars. Sexes are similar. Juvenile has buff and brown head stripes. Diet consists primarily of seeds and insects. 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.

Breeding and Nesting

White-crowned Sparrow: Two to six light blue or green eggs marked with red brown are laid in a bulky cup of bark strips, grass, and twigs, lined with grass and hair, and built on a clump of grass or moss, or in a bush or low tree up to 30 feet above the ground. Incubation ranges from 11 to 14 days and is carried out by the female; raises up to 4 broods per year in the south.

Foraging and Feeding

White-crowned Sparrow: Diet includes seeds, buds, grass, fruits, and insects. Forages on the ground by scratching or gleans food from vegetation.

Readily Eats

Sunflower Seed, Commercial Mixed Bird Seed


White-crowned Sparrow: Song is composed of one or more "pure tone” whistles followed by more complex sounds consisting of frequency sweeps, buzzy vibrato elements, and trills - "poor-wet-wetter-chee-zee." Call is a sharp note of "pink" or "tseek."

Similar Species

White-crowned Sparrow: White-throated Sparrow has more rufous upperparts, a mostly dark bill, and well-defined white throat patch. Harris's Sparrow winter adult and juvenile are slightly larger, have pink bill, and buff face.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
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