AudioDateDownLeftRightUpCloseReportGallerySettingsGiftLanguageGridListMapMenuPhotoPlayPlusSearchStarUserIconVideo

Chipping Sparrow

Spizella passerina

Order:
Passeriformes
Family:
Emberizidae
Sections
  • Authors: Middleton, Alex L.
  • Published: Jan 1, 1998
Listen

Introduction

Free Introduction Article Access

The Introduction Article is just the first of 11 articles in each species account that provide life history information for the species. The remaining articles provide detailed information regarding distribution, migration, habitat, diet, sounds, behavior, breeding, current population status and conservation. Each species account also includes a multimedia section that displays the latest photos, audio selections and videos from Macaulay Library’s extensive galleries. Written and continually updated by acknowledged experts on each species, Birds of North America accounts include a comprehensive bibliography of published research on the species.

A subscription is needed to access the remaining account articles and multimedia content. Rates start at $5 USD for 30 days of complete access.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Sign In
Enlarge
Figure 1. Distribution of the Chipping Sparrow.
Enlarge
Adult Chipping Sparrow, breeding plumage

The Chipping Sparrow is one of North America's most common and widely distributed migrant songbirds. “Songbird” may seem a misnomer for this species because its song is a uniform trill, on one pitch, formed from a rapidly produced series of tssips . Its call, a sharp chip, gives the bird its English name.

Unlike many sparrows, which are commonly associated with grassland communities, the Chipping Sparrow prefers open woodlands, the borders of natural forest openings, edges of rivers and lakes, and brushy, weedy fields. Its preference for nesting in the groves and open glades of coniferous forests, and for foraging in brushy open areas, suit this sparrow to human-modified habitats. The Chipping Sparrow is a common summer resident in towns and gardens and around more isolated human habitations in many parts of North America.

Even though common and abundant, the Chipping Sparrow is surprisingly under-studied. For example, until recently it was widely accepted that the Chipping Sparrow was a typically territorial and monogamous species, but evidence from Ontario now challenges this assumption. Observations of color-banded birds show that once nesting has begun, males move through neighboring territories, where they may copulate with several different females.

It is not known, however, if this behavior is characteristic of all Chipping Sparrow populations. Further study, including the use of DNA-fingerprinting, is necessary for a full understanding of the breeding biology of this species. Detailed studies are needed from many parts of its range on all aspects of its life cycle, including behavior, population dynamics, migration, and winter biology.

Recommended Citation

Middleton, Alex L.. (1998). Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina), The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/chispa

DOI: 10.2173/bna.334