photo by Phil Swanson
L 6 1/2″ (17 cm).
Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)
Repeated “tsip.” Song includes various trills interspersed with low “churr”
Description: Sexes similar. Distinctive head pattern: chestnut ear patches and crown striping bordered in black and white. Mottled brown upperparts; grayish-white underparts marked only with dark central breast spot. Black tail has white corners and outer tail feathers. Juvenile has streaked crown, breast, and sides; lacks head pattern of adult.
Behavior: The male sings constantly both day and night, from the ground, a wire, or a fence post.
Habitat: Open woodlands, roadsides, farmlands, and native grasslands and weedy fields that are scattered with trees and shrubs.
Where in Nebraska: Common spring and fall migrant across the state. Common summer resident in grasslands throughout Nebraska, but especially in Sandhills and Panhandle.
Fun Facts: Walks on the ground rather than hops, like many other sparrows.