Common Name
SAVANNAH SPARROW

Scientific Name
PASSERCULUS SANDWICHENSIS

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Photo by Robert T. Maytum
Photo Courtesy of Robert T. Maytum

The Savannah sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis, ranges from Alaska to Guatemala. It is common during the summer in Utah, and breeds throughout the state in proper habitat; it is rare during winter in southern Utah, being found mostly in the southwestern corner of the state. This species inhabits open country, breeding in Utah mainly in moist pastures and meadows. Outside the breeding season, Savannah sparrows may be found in a variety of natural and human-altered open situations, such as roadsides, golf courses, and marshes. Its foods include arthropods, seeds, and fruits.

The nest is normally on the ground, usually in a depression so that the rim is flush with the ground surface, and concealed by overhanging vegetation. The two to six eggs, normally four, are incubated by the female parent for about twelve days. Both parents feed the nestlings, which fledge after seven to ten days. This species is subject to brood parasitism by the brown-headed cowbird, but the frequency of such parasitism is low.

Sources:

  • Wheelwright, N. T., and J. D. Rising. 1993. Savannah sparrow. Birds of North America 45: 1–27.

  • Behle, W. H., E. D. Sorensen, and C. M. White. 1985. Utah birds: a revised checklist. Utah Museum of Natural History, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. vi + 108 pp.

  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder’s handbook[:] a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster, New York. xxx + 785 pp.

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