South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Song Sparrow

Melospiza melodia

Length: 5.5 to 7 inches Wingspan: 8.5 to 11 inches Seasonality: Summer / All Seasons
ID Keys: Streaks on chest with central blotch, long tail, striped face

Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodiaThe Song Sparrow is one of the most familiar birds in parts of the United States, although its habit of using dense vegetation may occasionally mask its presence.  Song Sparrows may vary greatly in size and coloration over their wide range in North America.  Over 30 different sub-species have been recognized.

Habitat: Habitats varies greatly, although they are generally found near brush and thickets.   Habitats may include fencerows, streamsides, brushy fields, forest edges and openings, and residential areas.

Diet: The summer diet consists of many insects and spiders, while the winter diet consists primarily of the seeds of grasses and weeds.  Will also feed on assorted berries, while those near coastal wetlands may feed on small mollusks and crustaceans.

Behavior: Often skulks in thickets and brush, but males may be conspicuous when singing from higher perches.  Primarily forages on the ground, but also sometimes in trees and shrubs.

Nesting: May through July

Song: Song Sparrow Song, also Song Sparrow Call

Migration: Summers throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Winters through most of the U.S. and near the coastlines in Canada.

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Song Sparrow sightings

Similar Species: Lincoln's Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow

Status: Generally stable throughout its range.

Bird Feeders: Will attend feeders for various seeds.

Further Information: 1) Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Song Sparrow

2) Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Song Sparrow

3) Song Sparrow

Photo Information: October 15th, 2005 - Atkin's Slough near Tea, in Lincoln County, South Dakota - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Song Sparrow photos.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view

Song Sparrow - North American Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common summer breeding resident in appropriate habitat throughout the state.  Rare in the winter, most common in the southern part of the state.