Savannah Sparrow

(Passerculus sandwichensis)

Conservation Status

 

No Image Available

  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

     
  NatureServe

N5B, N5N - Secure Breeding and Nonbreeding

SNRB - Unranked Breeding

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
 
Description
 
 

The underparts are white. The breast and flanks have thin brown or black streaks. The streaked breast has a dark central spot but the breast is not as streaked and the spot is not as strong as the Song Sparrow. The tail is notched. The bill is small. The area between the eye and the upper bill (lores) is yellow, though not as yellow or a prominent as the White-throated Sparrow.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

5 to 6in length

6½ wingspan

 
     
 

Voice

 
   
 

Three or four high-pitched notes followed by a high insect-like buzz then a low trill, the whole series lasting just 2 or 3 seconds.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) breast is washed with buff and is unstreaked.

Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) has a buff jaw line; a buff breast, sides, and flanks; and no yellow lores.

Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) has a chestnut shoulder patch, a longet tail, white outer tail feathers, a bold white eye ring, and no yellow lores.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Breeding: Sedge meadows, grass meadows, pastures, grassy roadsides, and agricultural fields with cover crops

Migration: Grassy roadsides

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Migration

 
 

Early April to late October

 
     
 

Nesting

 
 

 

 
     
 

Food

 
 

In the summer, insects and spiders. In the winter, seeds.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common to abundant migrant and breeder

 
         
 

Maps

 
 

The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union All Seasons Species Occurrence Map

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Class Aves (birds)  
 

Order

Passeriformes (perching birds)  
 

Family

Passerellidae (New World sparrows)  
 

Genus

Passerculus (savannah sparrows)  
       
 

New World sparrows were traditionally combined with buntings into the family Emberizidae. Recent phylogenetic analysis (Barker et al. 2013) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis (Klicka et al. 2014) found that the Old World buntings should be separated as a sister to New World sparrows. New World sparrows have been separated into a new family, Passerellidae.

 
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

There are currently seventeen subspecies of Passerculus sandwichensis recognized (and one doubtful subspecies). Many of the subspecies represent clines, or gradients, of a single morphological feature, such as bill size, overall size, reddish coloration, and darkness of plumage, but many or even most individuals are intermediate.

 
       
 

Savannah Sparrow Proper Group

Aleutian Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis sandwichensis)

Brown Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis brunnescens)

Churchill Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis oblitus)

Dwarf Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis brooksi)

Eastern Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis savanna)

Kodiak Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis anthinus)

Labrador Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis labradorius)

Nevada Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis nevadensis)

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis wetmorei) (doubtful subspecies)

Western Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis alaudinus)

 

Ipswich Sparrow Group

Ipswich Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis princeps)

 

Large-billed Sparrow Group

Large-billed Sparrows Proper

Southern Large-billed Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis atratus)

Large-billed Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis rostratus)

 

Belding’s Large-billed Sparrow

Belding’s Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis beldingi)

Magdalena Belding’s Large-billed Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis magdalenae)

San Ignacio Belding’s Large-billed Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis guttatus)

Vizcaíno Belding’s Large-billed Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis anulus)

 

San Benito Large-billed Sparrow

San Benito Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis sanctorum)

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Ammodramus sandwichensis

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

Share your photo of this bird.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.
 
 

 

 
 

 

 
           
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           
           

 

Camera

 

     
Slideshows
   
  Savannah Sparrow
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
 
  Savannah Sparrow  
     
  "Eastern" Savannah Sparrow
JMC Nature Photos
 
  "Eastern" Savannah Sparrow  
     
  Savannah Sparrows
crossarthur76
 
  Savannah Sparrows  

 

slideshow

       
Visitor Videos
   

Share your video of this bird.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.

       
       
Other Videos
 
  Savannah Sparrow Singing
Scott Carpenter
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Apr 23, 2011

Ridgefield NWR, Clark County, Washington, USA

   
       
  Savannah Sparrow's Song
Dean Martin
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 3, 2014

Description

   
       
  Savannah Sparrow (Emberizidae: Passerculus sandwichensis) Female Scolding
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 6, 2009

Photographed at East Grand Forks, Minnesota (06 July 2009).

   
       
  Savannah Sparrow Portrait
eBirdr Channel
 
   
 
About

Published on May 29, 2012

The Savannah Sparrow is common throughout North America in large fields with short or sparse grass, marshes.

It has a short notched tail, light eyebrow and dark whisker stripes, pink legs and feet. Some are quite dark with extensive side and breast streaking, sometimes with a central spot. Some are light with faint streaking. Pale form known as "Ipswich Sparrow" and breeds on Sable Island, Nova Scotia.

The song is a "slip, slip, slip it in easy" with a distinctive "seep" flight call.

   
       
  Savannah Sparrow
Eric Preston
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 26, 2013

Savannah Sparrow, The Prairie Enthusiasts' Mounds View Grassland, Iowa County, Wisconsin

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   

Report a sighting of this bird.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
         

 

 

Binoculars


Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2021 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.