|Conservation status||Some counts of migrants suggest that the species has decreased in recent decades, at least in the East.|
|Family||New World Sparrows|
|Habitat||Wooded areas, undergrowth, brush. Breeds in brushy areas including woodland edges and clearings, streamside thickets, scrubby second growth, stunted coastal forest. Winters in similar habitats, also in brushy fields, chaparral, well-vegetated suburbs and parks.|
Forages on ground, characteristically scratching in the soil or snow, making a little forward jump and then scratching back with both feet at once.
2-5. Tends to lay fewer eggs in southern part of breeding range. Eggs pale green to greenish white, heavily blotched with reddish brown. Incubation is by female only, about 12-14 days. Young: Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave the nest about 9-11 days after hatching.
Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave the nest about 9-11 days after hatching.
Mostly seeds and insects. During breeding season, consumes many insects, including beetles, flies, true bugs, and others, also spiders and millipedes. Majority of diet at other seasons consists of seeds, mainly of weeds (such as smartweed) and grasses. Also eats some berries; in coastal areas, may feed on tiny crustaceans and other marine life on beaches. Young are fed mostly insects.
Male sings in spring to defend nesting territory; may be aggressive toward intruders of other species as well as his own. Nest site is often on ground under dense cover of low shrubs. Sometimes nests up in shrubs or low trees, rarely more than 8' above ground. Nest (probably built by female) is open cup made of grass, weeds, moss, lined with fine dry grass. Nests built above ground usually larger and more bulky, with more twigs used in outer walls.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Typically migrates early in spring and late in fall, with peak passage in many areas during late March and early November. Migrates at night.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsA lively song that opens with 1 or more clear whistles followed by several short trills or churrs. Call a sharp chink.
Learn more about this sound collection.