Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Nicky Davis
Photo Copyright Nicky Davis

The sage sparrow, Amphispiza belli, is a small bird that breeds in the western United States and Baja California. It winters in Mexico and in scattered areas of the western (especially southwestern) United States. The sage sparrow occurs locally throughout Utah during the spring and summer; it occurs primarily in the southwestern portion of the state during the winter.

The sage sparrow prefers shrubland, grassland, and desert habitats. The nest of twigs and grasses is built either low in a shrub or on the ground. A clutch of three or four eggs is laid and then incubated for about two weeks; both parents attend to the young. Females often produce more than one brood in a year.

Sage sparrows are opportunistic feeders that forage on the ground. Insects, spiders, fruits, and seeds comprise the majority of the diet. The sage sparrow is active during the day.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.