Sparrows are small, round-shaped birds that feed on seeds. It can be hard to distinguish between sparrow species, except for the dark-eyed junco with its dark hood. Juncos are found in the park year-round.


Sparrows - Order Passeriformes, Family Passerellidae

A sparrow with a red crown drinks from a pool of water in a rock.
Chipping Sparrow

NPS Photo

Chipping Sparrow
Spizella passerina

Habitat: subalpine
Seasons: occasional spring-fall
Size: length 5.5 in (14 cm), wingspan 8.5 in (21.6 cm)
Chipping Sparrow Calls

Chipping sparrows have distinctive grey rumps, and can be greyish overall with brown-streaked backs and wings when nonbreeding. When breeding, their red-tinged crowns darkens. Other distinctive features are a dark eye-line and dark lores, the area between the eye and the beak. They also have a white throat-stripe. Chipping sparrows prefer open woods, like subalpine parkland.

A brown striped bird.
Song Sparrow

Crow Vecchio Photo

Song Sparrow
Melospiza melodia

Habitat: forest, subalpine
Seasons: occasional spring-fall
Size: length 6.25 in (15.8 cm), wingspan 8.25 in (21 cm)
Song Sparrow Calls

Song sparrows have long, rounded tails, rounded wings, and stout bills. Pacific Northwest populations are a darker grey-brown, with brown streaks overall and white bellies. The brown streaks on the breast converge into a spot, like a "tie tack" on their chests. They also have a white throat-stripe bordered by brown stripes.

A sparrow with white stripes on the head.
White-crowned Sparrow

Crow Vecchio Photo

White-crowned Sparrow
Zonotrichia leucophrys

Habitat: forest, subalpine
Seasons: occasional spring-fall
Size: length 7 in (17.8 cm), wingspan 9.5 in (24 cm)
White-crowned Sparrow Calls

This sparrow has a long tail and neck, and very distinctive white and black stripes on the head. Sometimes the crown feathers are raised in a crest. In Pacific populations, coloring is brown-grey, with brown flanks, and a thin, dark throat-stripe. White-crowned sparrows have brown stripes on the back and wings, with pale grey-brown rumps. They also have yellow bills.

A bird with a dark head perches on a rock.
Dark-eyed Junco

NPS/S. Redman Photo

Dark-eyed Junco
Junco hyemalis

Habitat: forest, subalpine
Seasons: abundant spring-fall, occasional winter
Size: length 6.25 in (15.8 cm), wingspan 9.25 in (23.5 cm)
Dark-eyed Junco Calls

Dark-eyed juncos are very common in the park and easy to identify with their dark heads. In males, the head is black, while it is a dark grey in females. Coloring can vary in populations across the country, but in the Oregon population found in the Pacific Northwest, both sexes have red-grey backs and brown flanks, with a white belly.

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Last updated: January 21, 2021

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