Common Sparrows

Common Sparrows

To a beginning birder sparrow identification is daunting.  They all are about the same size, often live in similar habitats, and are predominantly brown.  Here are some pictures and field mark identification for six common sparrows.

Below is a White-throated Sparrow.  I often confuse it with a White-crowned Sparrow because this sparrow does have white on its crown. However the yellow lores is a dead giveaway for the White-throated.


This White-crowned Sparrow has no yellow on it lores (the area in front of the eyes) differentiating it from a White-throated Sparrow.  It has clean black and white stripes on its head and a pink bill.


The Savannah Sparrow, like the White-throated Sparrow, has yellow on its head.  The yellow band on the Savannah goes above and behind the eye, whereas the White-throated Sparrow’s yellow ends at the eye.  Also notice the spotted breast on the Savannah (the White-throated’s breast is clean).


The Chipping Sparrow has a black band that extends from its beak, through the eye, and continues behind its head.  Also note the rufous-colored cap.


I’ve always loved seeing a Lincoln’s Sparrow.  The thin streaking combined with the buffy coloring around the head and breast make this one sharp sparrow.


The Song Sparrow has a tendency to perch atop a stalk or branch and sing away.  It often has wide streaks on its breast and a relatively long tail.

There are many more types of sparrows, but this is a good overview of the most common ones in the midwest.

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