Clay-colored Sparrow

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Spizella pallida

Clay-colored Sparrow

The Clay-colored Sparrow is a small, slender, and incredibly cute sparrow of North America. It is subtly patterned with pale gray and buff overall. Face usually looks crisp and clean.

Adults have light brown upperparts and pale underparts, with darker streaks on the back. They have a pale crown stripe on a dark brown crown, a white line over the eyes, a dark line through the eyes, a light brown cheek patch and brown wings with wing bars.

Their short bill is pale with a dark tip and the back of the neck is gray; they have a long tail.

Non-breeding adults and immature resemble Chipping Sparrows and Brewer's Sparrows and they often form flocks with these birds outside the nesting season.

Adults are 5.1 - 6 inches in length, having a wingspan of 7.5 inches and a weight of 12 grams.

CALL: A simple, sharp “chip” note.

SONG: A series of 3 - 5 identical raspy buzzes, relatively unique compared to most other sparrow species that migrate through the state, or stay for the summer breeding season.

The major diet of the Chipping Sparrows are seeds, which they consume in quantity at all seasons.  Other vegetative matter includes berries, fruits, leaf-buds, and new shoots.  They also feed heavily on insects during the summer.

Prefers shrubby grasslands for breeding, can also include woodland edges, fence lines, and the shrubby understory of forest areas. They also prefer brushy areas during migration and in winter.

Summers in the northern tier of U.S. states, and southern Canada.

Winters in the southern tip of Texas and points south.

Their nests are made of grasses and lined with fine materials or hair.

The female lays 3 - 5 splotched blue-green eggs and incubated for 11 days.

They are often parasitized by the Brown-headed Cowbird and their nest may be abandoned when this happens.

Clay-colored Sparrow Infographic



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