Song Sparrow

Melospiza melodia

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

New World Sparrows and Towhees (Passerellida)

Code 4

SOSP

Code 6

MELMEL

ITIS

Egg Color:

Pale green with red brown markings



Number of Eggs:

2 - 6



Incubation Days:

12 - 14



Egg Incubator:

Female



Nest Location:

2 - 12 feet above ground



Nest Material:

Lined with fine material., Grass, forbs, leaves, and bark strips.



Migration:

Northern birds migrate



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General

Song Sparrow: Medium-sized sparrow with heavily streaked gray-brown upperparts. Dull white underparts have dark central breast spot and thick streaks. Head has a brown crown with paler median stripe, pale gray eyebrow, white chin, and dark brown moustache stripe. Wings are rust-brown. Tail is long, rounded and usually tinged rust-brown. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is duller and may lack breast spot.

Range and Habitat

Song Sparrow: Breeds from the Aleutians and mainland Alaska east to Newfoundland and south to California, New Mexico, and northern Georgia. Spends winters from southern Canada throughout the U.S. to the Gulf Coast and Mexico. Preferred habitats include forest edges, thickets, and marshes with open grassy feeding areas; also found in undergrowth in gardens and city parks.

Breeding and Nesting

Song Sparrow: Two to six red brown marked, pale green eggs are laid in a cup nest of grass, forbs, leaves, and bark strips, often lined with hair, and usually built on the ground near a grassy tussock or reeds; sometimes builds nest in a bush or tree, 2 to 4 feet above the ground. Incubation ranges from 12 to 14 days and is carried out by the female; raises up to three broods per season.

Foraging and Feeding

Song Sparrow: Diet consists of seeds, grass, berries, and occasionally insects; also eats crustaceans and mollusks on the coast; forages on the ground.

Readily Eats

Sunflower Seed, Commercial Mixed Bird Seed

Vocalization

Song Sparrow: Song consists of three short notes followed by a varied trill, sometimes interpreted as "Madge-Madge-Madge, put-on-your-tea-kettle-ettle-ettle."

Similar Species

Song Sparrow: Lincoln's Sparrow is smaller with smaller bill, lighter streaks on breast and flanks, buff on breast and face, shorter tail, and lacks breast spot. Savannah Sparrow is smaller and paler, and has heavier bill, shorter tail, pale yellow eyebrows, and lacks breast spot.

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UnderpartsX

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

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
ChinX
The area of the face just below the bill.
CrownX
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
EyebrowX
Also called the supercilicum or superciliary it is the arch of feathers over each eye.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X