White-crowned Sparrow

Zonotrichia leucophrys 

Found where brush mixes with open ground
Striking white and black stripes on their head
Spend their winters in NE before heading north for the summer

Size & Shape

The White-crowned Sparrow is a large sparrow with a small bill and a long tail. The head can look distinctly peaked or smooth and flat, depending on the bird’s attitude.

Color Pattern

First impressions of White-crowned Sparrows tend to be of a plain, pale-gray bird; next your eye is drawn to the very bold black-and-white stripes on the head and the pale pink or yellow bill. Learn this bird’s size and shape so you’re ready to identify young birds that have brown, not black, markings on the head.

Behavior

You’ll see White-crowned Sparrows low at the edges of brushy habitat, hopping on the ground or on branches usually below waist level. They’re also found in open ground (particularly on their breeding grounds) but typically with the safety of shrubs or trees nearby.

Habitat

Look for White-crowned Sparrows in places where safe tangles of brush mix with open or grassy ground for foraging. For much of the United States, White-crowned Sparrows are most likely in winter (although two races live year round in the West, along the coast and in the mountains).

Sounds

Have you spotted this bird in a particular area?
Share you insights and photos in the comments below!

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