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Brewer's Sparrow Spizella breweri


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Brewer's Sparrow

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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

Description ADULT BREEDING Has streaked gray-brown back and brown wings with two buff wing bars. Nape is gray in taverneri, gray-buff in breweri, and all birds have gray-brown crown and pale-centered brown ear coverts, with pale gray supercilium and lores, and pale throat bordered by dark malar stripe. Underparts are otherwise almost unmarked pale gray-buff. ADULT NONBREEDING Similar, but paler overall and with less contrast in streaking and face markings. JUVENILE More heavily streaked (especially taverneri) than respective adult.

Dimensions Length: 5" (13 cm)

Habitat Common summer visitor (mainly Apr-Aug) to dense brush and sagebrush habitats; winters in arid sagebrush and brushy desert habitats in southwestern U.S. and Mexico.

Observation Tips Easiest to see on breeding grounds.

Range Western Canada, Northwest, Texas, Southwest, Alaska, California, Rocky Mountains, Plains

Voice Song is a series of buzzing trills, sometimes preceded by wheezy whistles; call is a thin tzik.

Discussion Small sparrow with a dainty, pointed bill and unremarkable plumage. Forms flocks outside breeding season. Ssp. taverneri (so-called Timberline Sparrow) from northwest is isolated in breeding season from southern ssp. breweri, and possibly a separate species. Sexes are similar.