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White-throated Sparrow - BirdForum Opus

White-striped form
Photo © by KC Foggin
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA, 24 October 2007
Zonotrichia albicollis


15–17 cm (6-6¾ in) There are both tan-striped and white-striped forms.

Tan-striped form
Photo © by KC Foggin
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA, November 2007

Similar Species

White-crowned Sparrow, which has a light gray throat, and a very broad white median crown stripe with a black border.


Breeds from northwest Canada east to Labrador and Newfoundland and south to Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Winters in the eastern USA from the Great Lakes south to Gulf Coast and Florida, and also in small numbers on the Pacific coast.

The most frequently seen Nearctic sparrow in the Western Palearctic, recorded in Iceland and the British Isles, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Spain and Gibraltar. The first for Norway was recorded in July 2002. British records (c.24) most often on Shetland and usually in May-June but also recorded on the English east coast and the Isle of Man.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Coniferous forest with dense undergrowth and brushy edges and clearings. On passage and in winter on farmland with hedgerows and thickets, woodland edges, parks and suburban gardens.

Transitional Plumage, White-striped form
Photo © by KC Foggin
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA, 8 March 2009


Forages on the ground. Rather a skulking bird, hides in bushes.


Sometimes double-brooded. Socially monogamous; rarely polygamous. Nest is on the ground under shrubs or low in trees in deciduous or mixed forest. Clutch is three to five brown-marked blue or green-white eggs.


In summer a variety of insects, including dragonflies and damselflies, Hymenoptera, heteropteran bugs, and larval beetles. At other seasons, mainly seeds, and berries, and are attracted to bird feeders.


Song: Weak, whistled notes sounding like Old Sam Peabody, Peabody
Call: Very high pitched, short tseeet


Short-distance to medium-distance nocturnal migrant. Females usually winter farther south than males.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Falls, J. B. and J. G. Kopachena (2010). White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.128
  3. Rising, J. (2019). White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/61913 on 19 January 2019).
  4. Atkinson, C.T. & Ralph, C.J. (1980). Acquisition of plumage polymorphism in White-throated Sparrows. The Auk. 97: 245-252. PDF
  5. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
  6. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6

Recommended Citation

External Links

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