Swamp Sparrow

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Swamp Sparrow

Swamp sparrow photo
Melospiza georgiana
Emberizidae (sparrows, longspurs, buntings) in the order Passeriformes

Adult upperparts are dark red-brown, with black streaks and reddish patches on the wings and shoulders. No wing bars. The head is dark gray, with a chestnut crown (brown- and black-streaked, with a gray central stripe). The tail is slightly notched and is usually not pumped up and down in flight like the song sparrow's. Underparts are unstreaked, gray, with a white throat, dark, reddish-brown sides and a dark whisker stripe. Breeding plumage is much more reddish brown, with black streaking on the head and with buffy sides. Young birds resemble the winter plumage but have a buffy eyebrow and nape and fine streaking on the breast. The song is a low, sweet trill, "tup-tup-tup-tup-tup-tup," much slower than that of a chipping sparrow. Calls are a sharp, metallic "tchip" and a "zeee," similar to those of the Lincoln's sparrow.

Length: 5 3/4 inches (tip of bill to tip of tail).
Habitat and conservation: 
Common in swamps, wet meadows, marshes, prairies, hay fields and weedy fields, where it forages on the ground and in shallow water. It is unlikely that you will see a swamp sparrow at your bird feeder.
Insects and seeds.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Common migrant statewide. Uncommon winter resident statewide. Formerly known to breed in certain wetlands in northern Missouri, but not recorded in about a hundred years.
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