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American Tree Sparrow Spizella arborea


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American Tree Sparrow
credit: Mdf/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Alternate name: Winter Sparrow

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

Description ADULT Has dark-streaked rufous back and rufous wings with two pale wing bars. Face is gray overall, but with rufous crown and stripe behind eye, and subtle dark stripe bordering gray throat. Underparts are otherwise pale gray, with rufous wash on flanks and dark breast spot. JUVENILE Recalls adult, but is heavily streaked.

Dimensions Length: 5 1/2-6 1/2" (14-17 cm)

Habitat Locally common summer visitor (mainly Apr-Sep) to shrubs and trees at northern edge of boreal forest; winters in weedy, grassy habitats adjacent to trees and shrubs across much of U.S. except south.

Observation Tips Easy to see in suitable habitats.

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

Voice Song is a descending series of rather piercing notes, ending with a trilling flourish; call is a thin tseeup.

Discussion Distinctive sparrow. Combination of bicolored bill (dark upper mandible, yellowish lower one), subtle rufous eyestripe, and dark breast spot, are good identification features. Forms flocks outside breeding season. Birds are brightest in breeding season and sexes are similar.