Passerella iliaca
(Fox Sparrow)


Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Emberizidae
Family Description: Blackbirds, Orioles, & Sparrows

Physical Description:
6-7 1/4" (15-18 cm). Gray above; white below specked with gray; chestnut tail.

Similar Species- Song Sparrow, Hermit Thrush

Song:
A combination of short, clear notes and sliding whistles.

Distribution:
Breeds across portions of Alaska and Canada, south to Colorado, Nevada, and southern California. Winters from British Columbia, New Mexico, and portions of Midwest, south to southern California, central Texas, portions of Gulf Coast, and southern Florida.

Habitat:
Found in dense thickets in coniferousClick word for definition or mixed forests, in chaparral, parks, and gardens, and in wooded bottomlands along rivers and creeks. Requires dense, brushy cover during nesting season. Idaho study conducted in cottonwood forests found Fox Sparrows avoided grazed areas and were more strongly associated with natural landscapes than agricultural ones.

Diet:
Eats seeds (e.g., smartweed, ragweed), berries (e.g., blueberries, elderberries), grapes, and other fruits. May eat invertebrates (e.g., beetles, spiders, millipedes, and craneflies).

Ecology:
Builds cup-shaped nest on ground or, rarely, in tree. Forages on ground.

Reproduction:
Female (mostly) incubatesClick word for definition 3-5 eggs for 12-14 days; nestlings fledgeClick word for definition at 9-11 days.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABPBXA2010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5,NTMB
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
Saab, V.A. 1996. Influences of spatial scale and land-use practices on habitat relationships of breeding birds in cottonwood riparian forests. Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ. Colorado, Boulder. 140pp.


Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.