Spotlight On Ohio Birds

Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)

Family: Emberizidae

Order: Passeriformes

Description: Length: 5 1/4″ (13 cm) ADULT Has a dark-streaked reddish brown back and wings with two white wing bars. Face is gray overall, but has a rufous crown and eyestripe. Underparts are washed rufous on breast and flanks. JUVENILE Similar to adult, but heavily streaked below.

Voice: Song is a series of rich, whistling, disyllabic tee-oo phrases, ending in an accelerating trill; call is a sharp tik.

Habitat: Common summer visitor (mainly Apr-Aug) to grassy, weedy fields with nearby scrub; found year-round in much of southeast and winter range extends to Mexico.

Nesting: Open cup of large grass pieces interwoven with finer grasses. Lined with fine grasses, rootlets, and hair. Placed on or near ground in grass clumps or at base of shrubs. Clutch size is 2-5 creamy white eggs with dark spots.


FYI’s: The Field Sparrow often feeds directly on fallen seeds. It may fly to the top of grass stalks, let its weight carry the stems to the ground, and then begin removing the seed.

If a male Field Sparrow survives the winter, it usually returns to breed in the same territory each year. The female is less likely to return to the same territory, and young sparrows only rarely return the next year to where they were born.

The male Field Sparrow starts singing as soon as he gets back in the spring. He sings vigorously until he finds a mate, but after that he sings only occasionally.

Resource material provided by:

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology/


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