Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
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Brewer's Sparrow

Brewer's Sparrow
Spizella breweri
Perching Birds | Family: New World Sparrows, Emberizidae

An estimated 6% of the species' North American breeding range lies within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

This sparrow is unusual in having two distinct nesting populations, one in the alpine meadows of the Rocky Mountains of the Yukon and the other in the sagebrush deserts of the western United States.

Description

5" (13 cm). Light brown upperparts with black streaks; unmarked pale underparts. Resembles Clay-colored Sparrow, but has brown crown, finely streaked with black. Well-defined darker ear patch bordered by fine black eye line and 2 parallel "whisker" marks. Unstreaked breast; darker, finely streaked back with buff wing bars.

Voice

Alternating trills, musical or buzzy, often quite prolonged. Call note a soft seep, most often given in flight.

Nesting

3-5 brown-spotted bluish eggs in a grass nest on or near the ground.

Habitat

Sagebrush and alpine meadows.

Range/Migration

Breeds in northern Rocky Mountains of Yukon and British Columbia, and in Great Basin south to southern California and New Mexico. Winters in southwestern states. Absent from Pacific Coast.