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Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana


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Swamp Sparrow
credit: Kevin Bercaw/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Emberizidae, New World Sparrows view all from this family

Description ADULT SUMMER Has streaked brown back and rufous wings and tail. Crown is rufous and face is gray overall, with dark eyestripe, and dark lower edge to ear coverts bordering the buffy malar stripe. Dark line borders unstreaked white throat and underparts are otherwise mostly unmarked gray, but with rufous wash on flanks. ADULT WINTER AND IMMATURE Similar, but crown is dull brown with pale central stripe; breast and flanks are streaked. JUVENILE Similar to winter adult, but browner overall and more heavily streaked.

Dimensions Length: 5" (13 cm)

Habitat Common summer visitor (mainly Apr-Sep) to shrubby wetlands; winters from south_eastern U.S. to Central America.

Observation Tips Fairly easy to see. Like many other sparrows, responds to "pishing."

Range California, Rocky Mountains, Mid-Atlantic, Eastern Canada, Southeast, Texas, New England, Western Canada, Southwest, Alaska, Florida, Plains, Great Lakes, Northwest

Voice Song is a sweet, musical rattle, about 2-3 seconds in duration; call is a sharp tchip.

Discussion Dumpy looking sparrow; similar to Lincoln's, but with much more rufous wings, tail, and (when breeding) crown. Calls of two species are also different. Sexes are similar.