Spizella passerina
(Chipping Sparrow)

Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Emberizidae
Family Description: Blackbirds, Orioles, & Sparrows

Physical Description:
5-5 3/4" (13-15 cm). Breeding adults have distinct chestnut brown cap, white eyebrow, black stripe through eye, gray cheek, and white throat. Winter adults and juveniles have duller streaked crownClick word for definition. All are gray below and reddish-brown back streaked with black.

Similar Species- Clay-colored Sparrow

A monotonous rattle.

Breeds from Alaska, Yukon, and British Columbia, east to Newfoundland, and south to northern Baja California, Nicaragua, and Gulf Coast. Winters from southwestern and central U.S., south to northern Nicaragua.

Found in open woodlands, woodland edges, edges of lakes and streams, grassy fields, parks, farmyards, and orchards. Preliminary results of Idaho-Montana study found species favored rotation-aged stands over old growth in Douglas-fir/ponderosa pine habitats.

Feeds on seeds (e.g., grasses, clover ragweed, and knotweed), spiders, and insects (e.g., weevils, beetles, caterpillars, and grasshoppers).

Builds cup-shaped nest in coniferous tree, in vines, or occasionally on ground. Forages primarily on ground; may also take food from foliage or shrubs.

clutchClick word for definition size varies from 3-5 eggs, but is usually 4. Incubation lasts 11-14 days. Both parents tend young, which are altricialClick word for definition, and leave nest in 9-12 days. Female may produce 2 broodsClick word for definition.

Element Code: ABPBX94020
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5,NTMB
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
Hejl, S.J. and R.E. Woods. 1990. Bird assemblages in old-growth and rotation-aged Douglas-fir/Ponderosa pine stands in the northern Rocky Mountains: a preliminary assessment. Pp. 93-100 in D.M. Baumgartner and J.E. Lotan, eds., Proceedings of a Symposium on Interior Douglas-fir: the species and its management. Feb. 27, 1990, Spokane WA.

Photo by Jason Karl,© 2000
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.