White-Throated Sparrow

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White-throated Sparrow

White-throated sparrow photo
Zonotrichia albicollis
Emberizidae (sparrows, longspurs, buntings) in the order Passeriformes

Adult upperparts are reddish brown with dark streaks, and whitish wing bars. The crown is dark brown or black, with a white central crown stripe, and there are two broad white or tan eyebrows and a narrow black eye line. Often has a noticeable yellow spot in front of the eye. The bill is dark. Underparts are white, with an unstreaked gray breast that outlines a prominent white throat patch. Young birds have some streaking on underparts.

The song, heard in late fall and early spring, sometimes in the winter, begins with two clear, slow whistles, followed by repeated three-syllable phrases on a higher pitch: "hew, hew, whe-he-he, whe-he-he, whe-he-he" or "sweet, sweet, Canada Canada Canada." Another "translation" gives rise to a nickname for this species: "Ol' Sam Peabody." The call is a "tseet" or a sharp, alarmed "pink."

Length: 6 3/4 inches (tip of bill to tip of tail).
Habitat and conservation: 
Commonly seen foraging on the ground in brushy areas in woodlands. Often comes to bird feeders where seeds are on or near the ground. White-throated sparrows are often found in large flocks of birds that typically include other sparrows.
Insects, fruits and seeds.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Statewide. White-throated sparrows are dispersed throughout Missouri in the winter. They tend to be more common in the southern and eastern parts of the state.
Common migrant; accidental summer (nonbreeding) visitor. As winter resident, common in the south part of the state, uncommon in the north.
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