Fox  Sparrow

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Passerella iliaca

Fox Sparrow

The Fox Sparrow is a large, dark sparrow with extensive geographic variation. It is the only member of the genus Passerella, although some authors split the species into four.

P.i. iliaca or Red Fox Sparrow: From Central and East Coast. It winters in South-east of United States.
P.i.unalaschcensis or Sooty Fox Sparrow: From West Coast. It winters from Alaska to California.
P.i. megarhyncha or Thick-billed Fox Sparrow: From the Sierra Nevada. It winters in California.
P.i.schistacea or Slate-coloured Fox Sparrow: From the Rocky Mountains. It winters in the arid areas of South-west.

The Fox Sparrow is very variable in coloration of upperparts over its native range. They have broad rusty or dark brown streaking on mantle and underparts, bright russet rump and tail, mainly rusty brown wings (especially secondaries and great coverts), and gray tones to supercilium and sides of neck, that contrast with rusty brown ear coverts.

They are 5.9 - 7.5 inches long, with a wingspan of 10.6 - 11.8 inches and a weight of 27 - 47 grams.

CALL: Includes a “chip”, a “click” and a drawn out “stsssp”.

SONG: A series of loud, clear, melodious notes, gradually rising in pitch before falling away and often admixed with some buzzing trills.

Feeds on seeds and insects, weed seeds, blueberries and other wild fruits. It also eats spiders, millipedes and small snails.

Birds on coastal areas may eat tiny crustaceans and other small marine animals found on the beach.

Breeds in dense undergrowth, in both coniferous and deciduous woodlands, especially thickets by streams.

Winters in forests, forest edges, and other woodland habitats with dense undergrowth.

Breeds across Alaska and British Columbia, eastward to New Brunswick and Newfoundland, southward in western mountains to Colorado and Central California, and also in Chaparral along Pacific coast from Southern Alaska to Baja California.

Winters in middle and southern of United States, from Minnesota to Massachusetts, southward to Northern Florida and Southern Arizona, and also along Pacific Coasts from Alaska to Baja California.

The female builds a cup-shaped nest with twigs, dried grasses, stems and bark. It is lined with grass, animal hair and feathers.

She lays 3 - 5 pale blue to pale green eggs, with thick brown spots. Incubation lasts about 12 - 14 days, mostly by the female.


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