American Tree Sparrow
Spizella arborea
Family Emberizidae

A common to visitor to backyards across America in the winter, the American Tree Sparrow can be easily identified by its solid red-brown cap and bicolored bill. Contrary to its name, it forages and nests on the ground, and breeds in the north, above the geographic tree line.

Identifying Traits (both sexes):

  • Small songbird
  • Red-brown cap on head
  • Single dark spot on a unstreaked breast
  • Bicolored bill: top black, bottom yellow
  • Two white wingbars
  • Size: Size: 14 cm (6")
  • Weight: 13-28 g (0.5-1.0 oz)

Voice: Song a sweet, high and clear whistling. Call a distinct, soft tseet

Habitat: The American Tree Sparrow can be found in most types of brushy and brambly ground habitat, such as weedy forest edges, brushy roadside, willow thickets, and marshes. In the summer it can be found in Arctic scrub, where it breeds.

Range: The American Tree Sparrow winters in most of the U.S., excepting the southernmost states and the southern parts of the Southwest. In the summer it breeds in northern Canada.

Interesting Facts: During the summer breeding season, the American Tree Sparrow’s diet consists nearly exclusively of animal materials, mostly insects. During the winter, no animal matter is eaten, as the bird turns to feeding on 100% plant material, mostly seeds.



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