Brewer’s Sparrow

photo by Phil Swanson

Spizella breweri
L 5 1/2″ (14 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Song is varied series of bubbling notes and buzzy trills, all at different pitches; often prolonged.

Description: Sexes similar. Light brown above with black streaks; unmarked grayish underparts; solid brown, finely streaked crown (lacks white middle stripe as in Clay-colored Sparrow); brown ear patch bordered by fine black eye line and two parallel whisker stripes; distinct white eye ring; grayish-white eyebrow; two buffy wing bars. Juvenile is lightly streaked on breast and sides and lacks grayish-white eyebrow.

Habitat: Open scrublands, especially short-grass prairies with sagebrush, rabbitbrush, and other semiarid shrubs.

Where in Nebraska: Common spring and fall migrant in western Nebraska. Local summer resident in extreme western Panhandle.

Field Notes: Has two distinct nesting populations, one in meadows of Yukon Rockies, and another in sagebrush deserts.

Fun Facts: The Brewer’s Sparrow can survive for extended periods of time without supplemental water, getting all they need from food.

Brewer's Sparrow - photo by Phil Swanson