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SPID Key – Streaked Breast

Streaked Breast Sparrows

Wing bar – yes

  • Harris Sparrow

Eye Ring- yes, including partial


Eye ring – faint or none

Harris Sparrow – streaks on side, black on crown, around bill and throat, white belly, fave of winter birds almost golden look. Wingbars in winter adults are buffy.


Wing bar – faint or none

  • Sage
  • Henslow’s
  • Vesper
  • Le Conte’s
  • Nelson’s Sharp-Tailed
  • Saltmarsh Sharp-Tailed
  • Seaside
  • Savannah
  • Fox
  • Song
  • Lincoln’s
  • Baird’s


Eye Ring- yes, including partial

Sage Sparrow – gray or brown head, white spot in front of eye

Henslow’s Sparrow – greenish eyebrow and nape

Vesper Sparrow – fine streaked head/white outer tail feathers, no yellow over eye

Le Conte’s Sparrow – orangish over eye, gray in front of the eye, buffy upper breast with fine streaks, buffy flanks with heavier streaks, eye ring may be weak. Found in grassy fields. Nelson’s and Saltmarsh Sharp-Tailed Sparrows are similar, but found in grassy marshes.

Baird’s Sparrow – buffy eyebrow behind eye, breastband streaks from necklace

Song and Lincoln’s Sparrows – some birds show stronger eye ring, but are described below


Eye ring – faint or none

Nelson’s Sharp-Tailed Sparrow – orangish over eye, gray back of neck, orange across breast

Saltmarsh Sharp-Tailed Sparrow – orangish over eye, gray back of neck, pale buff on sides, paler in the center of the breast

Seaside Sparrow – very dark, white throat

Savannah Sparrow – faint eye ring, yellowish lores over eye. Variable, overall streaked look

Fox Sparrow – grayish (east), reddish (west), very heavy, often arrow-head shape, spots/streaks on chest and side

Song Sparrow – streaks on sides and upper breast, central spot, greyish above and below eye

Lincoln’s Sparrow – fine straks on side and upper chest, place buffy wash on chest, spiffy look


sparrow identification


About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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