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Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii


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Lincoln's Sparrow
credit: Linda Tanner/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Emberizidae, New World Sparrows view all from this family

Description ADULT Has streaked brown back and reddish brown wings, with two indistinct pale wing bars, and reddish brown tail. Head is marked with brown crown and pale central stripe, and broad, gray supercilium, defined below by dark line through eye. Cheeks are grayish and has buff malar stripe and dark line bordering faintly streaked whitish throat. Breast and flanks are washed buff and heavily streaked; underparts are otherwise whitish. JUVENILE Similar, but more buff overall and with more distinct wing bars.

Dimensions Length: 5-6" (13-15 cm)

Habitat Common summer visitor (mainly Apr-Sep) to weedy, brushy fields and other open habitats, often close to water; winters from southern U.S. to Central America.

Observation Tips Easy to see.

Range California, Eastern Canada, Florida, Southeast, Texas, Western Canada, Plains, Great Lakes, Northwest, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, New England, Alaska, Mid-Atlantic

Voice Song starts with a breezy zee-err, followed by a delightful series of jingling trills, each on a different pitch; call is a soft tchup.

Discussion Plump-bodied sparrow with understated, but subtly attractive plumage. Smaller and shorter-tailed overall than Song Sparrow. Peaked crown is often raised when agitated. Sexes are similar.