BIRD OF THE WEEK / WEEK 17: April 23, 2018

© Liron Gertsman

Bird

Song Sparrow

Species Name

Melospiza melodia

Appearance

11-18 cm length | 18-25 cm wingspan | 12-53 gm weight

A medium-sized, somewhat slender sparrow, with short wings and a long, rounded tail.

Females and males are alike – brown on top with dark streaks and pale buff or white underparts. They have brown streaks on the breast that converge into a messy spot in the middle. They have a brown cap and a pale face with a white or grey stripe above the eye. They are most often confused with the Fox, Lincoln’s and Savannah sparrows.

Habitat / Behaviour

Omnivore | Scrubland | Migratory | Lives up to 13 years

One of the most common sparrows in North America, it is abundant and widespread across its range. It is highly adaptable and can be observed in a range of natural and urban environments.

Their diet consists of mostly seeds and insects although they may also eat crustaceans when in a marsh habitat. Their natural habitat is brushy forest edges although they are well adapted to marshy areas, and urban environments, parks, roadsides, agricultural lands, backyards, and schools with nearby shrubs.

The song sparrow is aptly named for its large repertoire of complex and pleasant sounding songs. They learn their songs from neighbouring sparrows and typically repeat the same tunes to one another. The song sparrow uses songs to attract potential mates and to declare its territory.

Breeding

Monogamous | Nest in a shrub | 3-5 Greenish-white eggs with brown spots | 1-5 nestlings