Fox Sparrow

Passerella iliaca





Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pale green with red brown markings

Number of Eggs:

2 - 5

Incubation Days:

12 - 14

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

0 - 20 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Lichen, roots, bark, leaves, twigs, grass, feathers, and animal fur.





Fox Sparrow: Large, chubby sparrow that varies from dark brown or gray-brown in the west to rich rufous in the east; upperparts may be so dark that back pattern is difficult to discern. Underparts are heavily streaked, converging at midbreast into a large, dark spot. Tail is slightly notched and tinged rust-brown. Heavy bill has dark upper mandible and yellow lower mandible. Sexes are similar.

Range and Habitat

Fox Sparrow: Breeds from the Aleutians and mainland Alaska east to northern Quebec and Maritimes, and south to southern California and Colorado. Winters along the West Coast and the southwest to the Gulf and Mid-Atlantic states. Preferred habitats include thickets and edges of coniferous, mixed, or second-growth forests or chaparral.

Breeding and Nesting

Fox Sparrow: Two to five pale green eggs, marked with red brown, are laid in a thick-walled cup of leaves, grass, and moss, and concealed in vegetation on or near the ground. Incubation ranges from 12 to 14 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Fox Sparrow: Diet consists of seeds, fruits, berries, insects, spiders, millipedes, and small snails. Forages by double-scratching on the ground and digging small holes by kicking backwards with claws and feet.

Readily Eats

Millet, Sunflower


Fox Sparrow: Sings a lively song that opens with one or more clear whistles followed by several short trills or "churrs." Call is a sharp "chink."

Similar Species

Fox Sparrow: Song Sparrow has striped head, bold white malar stripe, and more streaked underparts.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
Upper mandibleX
The upper part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X