Brewers Sparrow (Spizella breweri)

Brewers Sparrow

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Emberizidae | [latin] Spizella breweri | [UK] Brewers Sparrow | [FR] Pinson de Brewer | [DE] Nevadaammer | [ES] Gorrion de Brewer | [NL] Brewers Gors


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Pooecetes breweri
Spizella breweri NA wc to c Mexico
Spizella breweri breweri
Spizella breweri taverneri

Physical charateristics

A small pale sparrow of the sagebrush. Clear-breasted; resembles a Chipping Sparrow but sandier; crown finely streaked, with no hint of a median line (as in Chipping and Clay-colored sparrows in fall and winter).

Listen to the sound of Brewers Sparrow

[audio: Sparrow.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 20 cm wingspan max.: 22 cm
size min.: 14 cm size max.: 15 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 13 days
fledging min.: 9 days fledging max.: 10 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America : Westcentral


Sagebrush, brushy plains; also near treeline in Rockies; in winter, also weedy fields.
In summer typically in open flats covered with sagebrush; sometimes in stands of saltbush, on open prairie, or in pinyon-juniper woodland. Northern race (sometimes called “Timberline Sparrow”) summers at and above treeline in Canadian Rockies, in stunted
thickets of willow, birch, and fir. In winter, found in open country, especially desert dominated by creosote bush.


Male sings in spring to defend nesting territory.
Nest: Site is almost always well concealed in low shrub, no more than 4′ above groun
d, rarely on ground. Nest is a small, compact, open cup of grasses, weeds, twigs, rootlets, lined with finer plant material and with animal hair.
Eggs: 3-4, sometimes 5. Pale blue-green, with variable brown spotting often concentrated toward larger end. Incubation lasts 11-
13 days, roles of sexes in incubation not well known. The incubating bird may sit motionless on nest until very closely approached. If disturbed, adult may fly away or may drop to the ground and sneak away through the grass.
Young: Both parents probably feed the nestlings. Young birds leave nest about 8-9 days after hatching, before fully capable of flight. Adults may raise more than 1 brood per season.

Feeding habits

Mostly seeds and insects. Diet in summer is mos
tly insects, including beetles and beetle larvae, plant lice, caterpillars. By late summer more seeds are eaten, and in winter diet is mostly seeds. Can survive for an extended period on dry seeds, with no water.
Behavior: Forages on the ground and in low shrubs. Except during nesting season, usually forages in flocks, often associated with other kinds of sparrows.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Brewers Sparrow status Least Concern


Breeds western Canada, western United States. Winters southern United States to Mexico. Migration:
Migrates south relatively early in fall, and migrates north in mid to late spring; some are present on wintering grounds for more than 9 months of year.

Distribution map

Brewers Sparrow distribution range map

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