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White-throated Sparrow

Zonotrichia albicollis

Length: 6.75 inches Wingspan: 9.5 inches Seasonality: Migrant
ID Keys: White throat, black and white (or tan) stripes on head, 2 white wing bars.

White-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollisThe White-throated Sparrow can have head stripes of either white (see photo to the right) or tan (see photo #1 on the bottom) alternating with black  Curiously, White-throated Sparrows nearly always mate with opposite sex members of the alternate color morph.  Other curious differences occur between the color morphs: 1) White-striped females sing, but tan-striped females do not, 2) white-striped males are generally more aggressive and do more singing than tan-striped males, and 3) tan-striped male and white-striped female pairs tend to bond more quickly than the opposite combination.

Habitat: Woodlands, forest edges, residential areas, shelterbelts.

Diet: Primarily insects during the summer, seeds and berries in the fall and winter.  Will attend bird feeders for commonly offered seeds.

Behavior: Primarily forages on the ground, typically near or beneath thick vegetation. 

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota.

Song: White-throated Sparrow Song, also White-throated Sparrow Call

Migration: Summers in New England, the Great Lakes Region, and much of Canada.  Winters in the southeastern third of the United States and points south.

Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of White-throated Sparrow sightings

Similar Species: White-crowned Sparrow

Bird Feeders: Will attend feeders for various seeds, strongly preferring tray feeders or seed scattered on the ground.

Conservation Status: Numbers appear to be stable. They are found over a broad geographic area, and are common in parts of their range. For these reasons, the IUCN considers the White-throated Sparrow to be a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) BirdWeb - White-throated Sparrow

2) WhatBird - White-throated Sparrow

3) Audubon Guide - White-throated Sparrow

Photo Information: Both Photos: April 28th, 2003 -- Newton Hills State Park -- Terry Sohl

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


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
White-throated Sparrow - North American Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common migrant in the eastern part of the state, uncommon in the west.

Additional White-throated Sparrow Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
 White-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollisWhite-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollisWhite-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollisWhite-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollisWhite-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollisWhite-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollis