My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis

Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.

Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis

The Savannah Sparrow is a small American sparrow.

This species has a typically sparrow-like dark-streaked brown back, and whitish underparts with brown or blackish breast and flank streaking. It has whitish crown and supercilium stripes, sometimes with some yellow (more often near the beak). The cheeks are brown and the throat white. The flight feathers are blackish-brown with light brown or white border. The eyes are dark. The feet and legs are horn-colored, as is the lower part of the bill, with the upper part being dark grey.

Savannah Sparrows show some variation in size across subspecies. The total length can range from 11 to 17 cm (4.3 to 6.7 in), wingspan ranges from 18 to 25 cm (7.1 to 9.8 in) and body mass from 15 to 29 g (0.53 to 1.0 oz). In the nominate subspecies, the body weight averages 20.1 g (0.71 oz).

This passerine bird breeds in Alaska, Canada, northern, central and Pacific coastal USA, Mexico and Guatemala. The Pacific and Mexican breeders are resident, but other populations are migratory, wintering from the southern United States across Central America and the Caribbean to northern South America.

These birds forage on the ground or in low bushes; particularly in winter they are also found in grazed low-growth grassland. They mainly eat seeds, but also eat insects in the breeding season. They are typically encountered as pairs or family groups in the breeding season, and assemble in flocks for the winter migration. The flight call is a thin seep

On to my photos:

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

This is number 122 in my photo life list, only 228 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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8 responses

  1. My favorites are the first and last where he’s looking at you!

    September 5, 2013 at 3:15 am

    • Thanks! Being a dummy, I dumped a bunch of better photos of these, thinking that I had them saved in the folder I keep for the project. These aren’t bad though.

      September 5, 2013 at 3:17 am

  2. Those are great shots! When I saw the dark spot on his chest I thought I had misidentified the one I called a song sparrow a couple of posts ago, but that one didn’t have any yellow on its head.

    September 5, 2013 at 6:16 am

    • Thanks! Sparrows are one of those families of birds that you have to get close to in order to make a positive ID many times.

      September 5, 2013 at 8:17 am

  3. Excellent shots!

    September 8, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    • Thank you!

      September 9, 2013 at 1:02 am

  4. All are great shots, but I love the one where you caught him singing. Nice job!

    September 9, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    • Thanks Jan, I appreciate you taking the time to comment

      September 10, 2013 at 1:13 am