Bird Identification: Sparrows

Bird Identification: SparrowsMembers of the sparrow family exist throughout North America. They are small birds, between 4 and 7 inches long and weighing less than 2 ounces. They have generally short tails, and are often described as looking plump. Sparrows are classified as perching birds. (Pictured: Swamp Sparrow in Central Florida)


The majority of sparrow species are brown with some white mixed in. Their breasts typically have some sort of streaking on them--brown streaks are common.



Sparrows feed on the ground or close to it. They forage for seeds and insects and often can be heard scratching through the leaves looking for a meal.


Most sparrows live in open areas such as the edge of woodlands, fields, urban settings, pastures and farmland. Many species that live in the Untied States have a range that includes most of the nation.

Fun Fact

There are many subspecies of sparrows, each with its own geographical range. The song sparrow, for example, has 34 separate subspecies that differ from each other in subtle ways.

Expert Insight

Two characteristics that nearly all sparrows share are that the females resemble the males and that they will sing during the course of the whole year, not just during certain seasons.


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