Sparrows are a familiar type of small bird found in a variety of habitats. Generally, they tend to be short, stout birds that are brown or grey in colour, with shorter tails and stubby beaks. They are ground-foraging birds that feed on seeds, grains and insects. There are more than 140 species of sparrows; however, eight of them are very common in the United States.
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The black-throated sparrow is a species found in the deserts of the western United States and Mexico. It is grey with a black throat, with white stripes on the face. The tips of its outer tail feathers are also white. They are ground-foraging birds that feed on insects and seeds.
The white-crowned sparrow is a large sparrow with a small bill and long tail. Its body is pale grey, with bold black and white stripes on its head. White-crowned sparrows are found across the United States in the winter months and year-round in specific areas of the Northwestern United States. This sparrow chooses open and shrubby areas as its habitat and can often be found in gardens, back yards and weedy fields. They feed on seeds, fruit, grains such as wheat and barley, and a variety of insects.
The golden-crowned sparrow is a large bird of the sparrow family with a brown back striped in black. Its chest and face is grey, with a black-bordered yellow crown on the top of its head. Golden-crowned sparrows make their homes along the Pacific coast, as well as in Alaska and Canada. They feed on berries, seeds, insects and flower buds.
The chipping sparrow is a slender bird with a long tail and medium-sized bill. It is brown with a reddish-brown cap on the top of its head. These sparrows are common across the United States. Their habitats are wooded areas and grassy forests. They are ground-foraging birds that feed on seeds, grasses and herbs. They also include small fruits and insects in their diet during the summer breeding season.
The Savannah sparrow is a small songbird that is brown or greyish-brown overall. It has a yellow eyebrow stripe, and streaking on the breast, back and flanks. Savannah sparrows have a wide range of habitats across the United States, including marshlands, temperate coastlines and tundra. They feed mainly on insects and also seeds, usually outside of their breeding season.
Swamp sparrows can be found in wetland habitats such as swamps, meadows, bogs, and freshwater and tidal marshes across the United States. They feed on seeds, fruits and aquatic invertebrates. The swamp sparrow has a grey chest, whitish throat and belly, and reddish wings.
Song sparrows are a stout species of sparrow that are streaky and brown in colour with a large, central brown spot among the streakings on their breast. They are commonly found across the United States and Canada. They make their habitat in a variety of areas, including back yards, deserts, marshes, forest edges and overgrown fields. They feed mainly on seeds and fruits but supplement their diet during the summer months with invertebrates, such as caterpillars, dragonflies and beetles.
Fox sparrows are commonly found across North America. There are four subspecies of fox sparrows that vary slightly in colour and breeding area. All subspecies are ground-foraging birds that feast mainly on insects. Fox sparrows are larger birds than many other sparrows and generally sport very boldly coloured stripes in shades of red.
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- The Birds of North America Online; Black-throated Sparrow; Johnson, M.J., C. Van Riper, Iii and K.M. Pearson; 2002
- The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: White Crowned Sparrow
- The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Chipping Sparrow
- The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Golden Crowned Sparrow
- The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Savannah Sparrow
- The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Swamp Sparrow