Savannah Sparrow

COMMON NAME: Savannah Sparrow
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Passerculus sandwichensis
FAMILY: Emberizidae

Click on any photo to enlarge.

Some just assume that all sparrows are dull boring birds. Not interesting-looking like the Cardinals, the Blue Jays, etc.

Since I’ve been photographing a number of Sparrow species and looking closely to figure out each’s identification, I can testify to the fact that Sparrows are, to the contrary, adorable little birds.

This one is sitting on a barbed-wire that runs across the back border of our property. This is the location I most often spot the Savannah Sparrows. As I walk around on my paths in the morning, many birds fly off the ground, inevitably a Savannah Sparrow or two will perch on the fence until I again come too close as I walk around, then it flies off. (13 Jan 2013)

The Savannah Sparrow has some unique facial markings that makes it stand apart from others sparrows, allowing for identification. They have a light-colored eyebrow that usually has a subtle yellow tone. Usually the spot between the eye and the beak is darker yellow. They have a mostly dark crown, black eyes, a dark streak coming off the back of the eye, and some streaking on the check and body, usually with a dark spot in the middle of the chest (not seen in this photo). (13 Jan 2013)

When this bird looks straight on, it appears to have a white ‘X’ across its face.

Notice that the wing feathers are a mix of light and dark brown with white borders. The Savannah Sparrow has a shorter tail than many other sparrows. It has a white throat, but it shouldn’t be confused for a White-throated Sparrow. (13 Jan 2013)

Here’s a photo that shows more of the chest. You can see the single dark spot on the chest amidst the brown streaking. The streaking only comes part way down the front, but continues down the flanks. Notice the pink beak and feet. (29 Dec 2012)

This is another pretty good view of the Savannah Sparrow’s face and chest. The yellow coloring by the eye is a little more pronounced in this photo. (15 Dec 2012)

Two Savannah Sparrows on a very cold day sitting on the corner post and wire of our fence. Sometimes it’s hard to make out the yellow at the brow, but if you look close, especially at the one on the left, you can see it. Again you can see the single dark spot on the chest. It’s a bit subtle but it’s there. (24 Dec 2012)

The only flight photo I’ve managed to capture of the Savannah Sparrow is this one. I don’t know if I will find the opportunity to get a better one while they are around this season. Their flight is usually too quick and short for me to capture, but I will keep trying. (12 Dec 2012)

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