Spotlight On Ohio Birds

White-crowned Sparrow-(Zonotrichia leucophrys)

Family: Emberizidae

Order: Passeriformes

Description: 6″ – 71/2″ (15 – 19 cm) Adult has dark streaked brown back and reddish brown wings with 2 white wing bars. tail and rump are gray-brown and has black eye strip and black crown with bright white central stripe. Supercillium is very broad and white behind eye and plumage is otherwise mostly gray with limited brown on flanks. Bill is a dull pink.

Voice: The White-crowned Sparrows are recognized by their sweet, whistling introduction, a succession of jumbled whistles and a buzz or trill near the end. Song last 2-3 seconds. Females sing only rarely.

Habitat: Look for White-crowned Sparrows in places where safe tangles of brush mix with open or grassy ground for foraging. They breed in open or shrubby habitats including tundra, high alpine meadows and forest edges.

Nesting: Females build nests out of twigs, coarse grasses, pine needles, moss, bark, and dead leaves. They line the nest with fine grasses and hair. The clutch is 3-7 greenish, greenish-blue or blue spotted with reddish -brown eggs.


FYI’S: White-crowned Sparrows will share territories with Fox Sparrows, but chase away Chipping Sparrows and dark-eyed Juncos until they leave.

Alaskan White-crowned Sparrows migrate about 2,600 miles to winter in Southern California.

Because male White-crowned Sparrows learn the songs they grew up with and do not travel far from where they were raised , song dialects frequently form. And if 2 different territories overlap, then the birds can form 2 dialects of songs.

Resource material provided by:

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology/

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