Song Sparrow

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Song Sparrow

Song sparrow photo
Melospiza melodia
Emberizidae (sparrows, longspurs, buntings) in the order Passeriformes

Adult upperparts are streaked with dark to reddish brown, with gray cheeks, eyebrows and central crown stripe. The tail is long and rounded at the tip. In flight, the tail often pumps up and down. Underparts are whitish, with light to heavy, brown to red-brown streaking. Note the white throat with heavy dark "whiskers" (malar stripe). The song is three or four whistled introductory notes, followed by two slurred notes and a descending jumble of warbling whistles and trills. The call is a distinctive dull, nasal "tchep."

Length: 6 1/4 inches (tip of bill to tip of tail).
Habitat and conservation: 
In winter, common in weedy fields, streamside thickets and pasture/forest edges and at bird feeders. Most abundant in river valleys and floodplains. In summer, common in the plains of northern Missouri, and in willow marshes and wet meadows of the Osage Plains and in shrubby wetlands and roadside tangles near borrow ditches along highways in the Ozark Border and Mississippi Lowlands. Rare in the Ozarks.
Insects, seeds and fruits; visits bird feeders.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Common winter resident statewide. As a summer resident (nester), common in the northern section, uncommon in the southeast and rare elsewhere.
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