Chipping Sparrow

Spizella passerina 

Common in areas with both trees and grassland
Bright reddish brown cap
Loud, trilling songs

Size & Shape

The Chipping Sparrow is a slender, fairly long-tailed sparrow with a medium-sized bill that is a bit small for a sparrow. Learning the shape of this classic Spizella sparrow is a key step in mastering sparrow identification.

Color Pattern

Summer Chipping Sparrows look clean and crisp, with frosty underparts, pale face, black line through the eye, topped off with a bright rusty crown. In winter, Chipping Sparrows are subdued, buff brown, with darkly streaked upper parts. The black line through the eye is still visible, and the cap is a warm but more subdued reddish brown.


Chipping Sparrows feed on the ground, take cover in shrubs, and sing from the tops of small trees (often evergreens). You’ll often see loose groups of them flitting up from open ground. When singing, they cling to high outer limbs. On the ground they hop or run through grasses searching for seeds.


Look for Chipping Sparrows in open woodlands and forests with grassy clearings across North America. You’ll also see them in parks, along roadsides, and in your backyard, particularly if you have feeders and trees.


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

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