Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)

Field Sparrow

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Emberizidae | [latin] Spizella pusilla | [UK] Field Sparrow | [FR] Pinson des champs | [DE] Klapperammer | [ES] Chimbito Llanero | [NL] Veldgors


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Spizella pusilla NA e, c to ne Mexico
Spizella pusilla arenacea
Spizella pusilla pusilla

Physical charateristics

Note the pink bill of this rusty-capped sparrow. A narrow light eye-ring
gives it a big-eyed expression. It has rather rusty upperparts and a clear breast; facial striping less noticeable than on the other rusty-capped sparrows. The juvenile has a finely streaked breast; note the eye-ring.

Listen to the sound of Field Sparrow

[audio: Sparrow.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 21 cm wingspan max.: 22 cm
size min.: 15 cm size max.: 16 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 9 days fledging max.: 12 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 6  


North America : East, Central


Bushy pastures, brush, scrub.
Found at all seasons in brushy overgrown fields, second growth, woodland edges, hedgerows in open country. Sometimes around brushy edges of marshes. Does not usually live in wide-open grassy fields unless they contain scattered shrubs.


Male defends nesting territory by singing persistently. Adults with young may put on “broken-wing” act at approach of danger.
Nest: Site on or near ground in clumps of grass, or in dense low bushes or saplings, usually less than 3′ above ground, rarely up to 7′. Nest (bu
ilt by female) is open cup woven of grasses, lined with finer plant material and hair.
Eggs: 3-5, rarely 2-6. Whitish to pale bluish white, with brownish spots often concentrated at larger end. Incubation is by female only, 10-
12 days, rarely up to 17 days in cold spring. Nests parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbirds are often deserted.
Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest about 7-8 days after hatching, able to fly about a week later. Female may begin a second nesting attempt, leaving male to f
inish rearing first brood. 2 broods per season, sometimes 3.

Feeding habits

Seeds and insects.
Diet is more than 90 percent seeds in winter, mainly small seeds of grasses. Also eat many grass seeds in summer, but insects make up more than 50 percent of summer diet. Nestlings are fed
spiders and insects, especially caterpillars, with many grasshoppers fed to larger young.
Behavior: Forages on ground or in low vegetation. When feeding on grass seeds, will fly up to perch on grass stems, bending them to ground.


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.
Field Sparrow status Least Concern


Southeastern Canada, United States (east of Rockies). Winters to northeastern Mexico. Migration:
Partial migrant. Northernmost breeders move south in fall; southern breeders may move only short distance or may be permanent residents. In spring in northern areas, males arrive 2-3 weeks before females.

Distribution map

Field Sparrow distribution range map

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