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Description of the Brewer's Sparrow

BREEDING MALE

The Brewer’s Sparrow is very nondescript, with a grayish head, faint streaking on the crown and nape, a white eye ring, plain, buffy-gray underparts, and indistinct wing bars.  Length: 5 in.  Wingspan: 7 in.

 

Brewer's Sparrow

 

Brewers Sparrow 1 gl
Photograph © Greg Lavaty.

Female

Same as male.

Seasonal change in appearance

Fall and winter birds are slightly buffier below.

Juvenile

Juveniles have streaked underparts.

Habitat

Brewer’s Sparrows inhabit sagebrush, weedy fields, and pinyon-juniper woodlands.

Diet

Brewer’s Sparrows eat insects and seeds.

Behavior

Brewer’s Sparrows forage on the ground or low in vegetation.

Range

Brewer’s Sparrows breed across much of the western U.S. and southwestern Canada. They winter in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. The population has declined in recent decades.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Brewer's Sparrow.

Fun Facts

The Brewer’s Sparrow's elaborate song makes up for its nondescript plumage.

A small, disjunct northern population is sometimes considered to be a separate species, the "Timberline" Sparrow.

Vocalizations

The song consists of a highly variable series of trills and buzzes. A sharp "chip" call is also given.

Nesting

The Brewer’s Sparrow’s nest is a cup of grasses, weeds, and twigs and is lined with finer materials. It is placed in a low shrub.

Number: 3-4:
Color: Pale bluish-green in color with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 11-13 days, and fledge at about 8-9 days, though remaining dependent on the adults for some time.