Savannah Sparrow

photo by Phil Swanson

Passerculus sandwichensis
L 5 1/2″ (14 cm).

Song or calls:
Song is series of high-pitched “chips” and trills, starts slow and ends in rapid slur.

Description: Sexes similar. Plumage is highly variable. Most birds have yellow or whitish lores and eyebrow; pale crown stripe; and dark whisker stripe. Streaked brown upperparts; white underparts with sides and breast streaked with brown. Sometimes has central breast spot. Tail is short and notched; pink legs and feet.

savannah sparrow
Habitat: Migrants found in open grasslands, lightly grazed pastures, and brushy edges. Nesting occurs near wetlands, and in tall to mid-grass prairies.

Where in Nebraska: Common spring and fall migrant across the state. Rare or uncommon summer resident in western and northern parts of Sandhills.

Field Notes: Sixteen subspecies are recognized, each varying in size, color, bill size, and extent of streaking.

Fun Facts: Savannah Sparrows are very adept at running and when threatened will duck and dart away in the grass rather than fly away.

Savannah Sparrow - photo by Phil Swanson Savannah Sparrow - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)