White-throated Sparrows

The White-throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) are migratory American sparrows that occur naturally in Canada and southern USA.

These sparrows follow a well-defined hierarchy, which puts males ahead of females and older sparrows ahead of younger birds.

White-throated Sparrow

Distribution / Range

White-throated Sparrows breed in in central Canada and New England; and migrate south to southern United States for the winter.

They are rare vagrants to Western Europe.


White-throated Sparrows

White-throated Sparrows measure 17 cm in length, including its long tail.

They are easily identified by their reddish-brown wings and white throats.

There are two types – one has white stripes on its crown (the more common form) and the other has tan stripes and a browner head.

Those with white stripes tend to be more vocal and aggressive than those with tan stripes.

Adult sparrows go through two molts a year – in late summer and late winter. Juveniles undergo three molts in their first year – referred to as first plumage-cycle.

Diet / Feeding

White-throated Sparrows forage on the ground under or near thickets or in low vegetation. They mainly eat seeds, insects and berries.

They will also readily visit bird feeders, and are – in fact – the most widespread sparrows at feeders.

White-throated Sparrow

Nesting / Breeding

Their breeding habitats are deciduous or mixed forests. They nest either on the ground under shrubs or low in trees.

The average clutch consists of 3 to 5 brown-marked blue or green-white eggs.

Song and calls

The White-throated Sparrow’s song is described as a high monotone whistle with the rhythmic flowof oh sweet Canada, Canada, Canada or a where are you Frederick, Frederick, Frederick.

The White-throated Sparrow also has at least two other calls, in addition to its song.

The oldest males are the ones that sing the most.

White-throated Sparrow
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