Description of the Field Sparrow
The Field Sparrow has a gray head with much rufous in the crown, a white eye ring, a pink bill, brown wings with two white wing bars, and plain, buffy-gray underparts. Length: 6 in. Wingspan: 8 in.
Photograph © Greg Lavaty.
Seasonal change in appearance
Juveniles have streaked underparts.
Field Sparrows inhabit brushy fields and woodland edges.
Field Sparrows eat insects and seeds.
Field Sparrows forage on the ground or low in vegetation.
Field Sparrows breed throughout much of the eastern and central U.S. Northern birds retreat somewhat in the winter, though Field Sparrows winter across much of the eastern U.S. and Mexico. The population has declined in recent decades.
Bent Life History
Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Field Sparrow.
The shape of a bird's wing is often an indication of its habits and behavior. Fast flying birds have long, pointed wings. Soaring birds have long, broad wings. Different songbirds will have a slightly different wing shape. Some species look so much alike (Empidonax flycatchers) that scientists sometimes use the length of specific feathers to confirm a species' identification.
Wing images from the University of Puget Sound, Slater Museum of Natural History
Western Field Sparrows tend to be larger, paler, and grayer than eastern birds.
Field Sparrow pairs often divide up a fledged brood for continued care, or the male may take the entire brood so the female can begin a new nest.
The song consists of an accelerating series of whistles, becoming a trill near the end. A sharp "chip" call is also given.