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Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca


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Red Fox Sparrow
credit: Mdf/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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

Description ADULT Has gray and reddish back and wings, with two indistinct wing bars, and striking red and gray pattern on face. Underparts are boldly streaked reddish brown. Bill is pinkish orange. JUVENILE Similar to adult.

Dimensions Length: 6-7 1/2" (15-19 cm)

Habitat Common summer visitor (present mainly May-Aug) to taiga woodland, especially with willows and alders. Winters from southeastern U.S. to Mexico.

Observation Tips Often visits feeding stations, but otherwise rather unobtrusive outside breeding season.

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

Voice Song is a sweet, whistled swee too-wee, see tchet-tchu-tchu ee; call is a sharp tch'tup.

Discussion Large, plump-bodied sparrow whose plumage markings and bill size vary across its vast geographical range. Darker and grayer western subspecies are not covered here and the descriptions below relate to taiga-breeding "Red" birds. In all birds, streaks and spots on breast often coalesce to form a central spot or patch of dense spots. Sexes are similar.