Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Judd Patterson
Photo Copyright Judd Patterson

The white-throated sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis, breeds in Canada and northeastern America, and winters in eastern America and along the west coast. It is rare in Utah during winter. It breeds in coniferous and mixed forests, and it utilizes a variety of habitats, especially those with thick cover, during migration and winter. Additionally, white-throated sparrows frequent urban areas more often than other sparrows do during the winter months. The diet of this species is composed of arthropods, seeds, and fruits.

The nest is normally constructed on the ground, but is sometimes constructed in a shrub or tree up to ten feet above the ground. The eggs, usually four or five, are incubated by the female parent for eleven to fourteen days (usually twelve). Both parents tend the nestlings, which leave the nest seven to twelve days after hatching, usually on the eighth or ninth day. This species is rarely parasitized by brown-headed cowbirds.


  • Falls, J. B., and J. G. Kopachena. 1994. White-throated sparrow. Birds of North America 128: 130.

  • Rising, J. D., and D. D. Beadle. 1996. A guide to the identification and natural history of the sparrows of the United States and Canada. Academic, San Diego. xiii + 365 pp.