White-Throated Sparrow

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Zonotrichia Albicollis 

White-Throated Sparrow

There are two adult plumage variations known as the tan-striped and white-striped forms.

WHITE-STRIPED FORM: the crown is black with a white central stripe and supercilium is white as well. Auriculars are gray with the upper edge forming a black eye line.

TAN FORM: the crown is dark brown with a tan central stripe, and supercilium is tan as well. The auriculars are gray/light brown with the upper edge forming a brown eye line.

Both variations feature dark eyes, a white throat, yellow lores, and a gray bill. There is variation and some may show dark lateral stripes of each side of the throat.

They almost always pair with the opposite color morph for breeding. The two-color morphs occur in approximately equal numbers. Both male and female white-striped birds are more aggressive than tan-striped birds during the breeding season.

The breast has gray/tan streaks and the streaks continue down the flanks but the belly is generally light gray. The wings are rufous with two distinct white wing bars. Sexes are morphologically similar.

BILL: gray, small.

SIZE: measures about 5.9 - 7.5 inches in length, with a wingspan of 9.1 inches.

WEIGHT: weighs about 22 - 32 grams, with an average of 26 grams.

COLOR: WHITE-STRIPED FORM: black, white, gray, and yellow.

               TAN FORM: dark brown, light brown, tan, gray and yellow.

Seeds, buds, grass and fruit, insects.

Woodlands undergrowth, clearing, and edges, especially in coniferous or mixed forest situations, parks, and large gardens, scrub and watersides thickets.

BREEDS: Northwestern Canada, including central Quebec and Newfound- land, all the way eastward to Minnesota and the Great Lakes, and southward to New England.

WINTER: the Eastern United States, ranging from New England in the north, to northern Mexico in the south, and on the eastern coast of the United States, California, and Oregon.

CALL: include a thin, high, sibilant “tseet”, and a sharp, rather metallic “chink” or “pink”.

SONG: a thin and sweet whistle, generally two single notes, followed by three triple notes.

NEST: The female builds a cup-shaped nest made of coarse grasses, wood chips, twigs, pine needles, and rootlets.

It’s lined with fine grasses, rootlets, and hair.

EGGS: 4 - 6 pale blue or greenish-blue eggs, speckled with a dark marking on the larger end.

INCUBATION: 11 - 14 days, female.

NESTLING PHASE: 7 - 12 days.  

They hop when they’re on the ground rather than walking or running.

They feed primarily on the ground, scratching in the leaf litter with both feet.

Occasionally, they forage above ground for buds on trees and shrubs in spring.

They are short-distance migrants.

The oldest recorded White-throated Sparrow was at least 14 years, 11 months old.

White-Throated Sparrow Infographic






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