Savannah Sparrow

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Savannah Sparrow

Savannah sparrow photo
Passerculus sandwichensis
Emberizidae (sparrows, longspurs, buntings) in the order Passeriformes

Adult upperparts are streaked with gray, dark brown and tan, with a dark-streaked crown having a narrow white central crown stripe. The eyebrow is white with varying amounts of yellow. The tail is short and notched. Underparts are white, with dark streaks on the sides of the throat and breast. Often, the streaks form a central breast spot, making it closely resemble a song sparrow. The song is high-pitched, with two or three introductory "chip" notes followed by two buzzy trills, the second lower than the first. The call is a high "tseep."

Length: 6 1/4 inches (tip of bill to tip of tail).
Habitat and conservation: 
Savannahs and woodlands; the savannah sparrow is a bird of open habitat with nearby dense cover. Often seen foraging in moist habitats including lakeshores, weedy fields, crop fields, pastures and prairies.
Forages on the ground in grass or crop stubble for insects, spiders and seeds. Quickly retreats to brush when threatened.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Common migrant in spring and fall, and accidental summer (nonbreeding) visitor statewide. Rare to uncommon winter resident in southern Missouri; accidental in north.
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