Fun Chipping Sparrow Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 16, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel
Kids love to read chipping sparrow facts.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.0 Min

Are you interested in learning more about ornithology? We have got a special bird for you that many might have seen in their backyards.

The chipping sparrow is a tiny bird with a big personality. They are known for their reddish-brown plumage that is complemented by white feathers. However, the thing that stands out the most is their call which often feels like that of an alarm.

Even their name comes from the 'chip' or 'chipping' song of them. These birds are abundantly found in different parts of Canada, the US, and Mexico, while some populations have also been seen in Central America.

These birds mainly feed themselves seeds that they forage from forest floors. However, at times they cannot forego the taste of insects. They like to dwell in open woodland habitats, and the birds do form flocks to migrate when the temperatures become unbearable.

These tiny birds are currently enlisted as of Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Find it interesting?

Keep on reading to learn more amazing chipping sparrow facts. Also, check out the articles on least tern and scarlet macaw to know about birdies.

Chipping Sparrow Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a chipping sparrow?

The chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina) is a type of bird that is primarily found in North America.

What class of animal does a chipping sparrow belong to?

The chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina) belongs to the class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Passerellidae.

How many chipping sparrows are there in the world?

As this species of sparrow are quite common, it is hard to tell their exact population. However, they are far away from declining in population numbers.

Where does a chipping sparrow live?

Chipping sparrows are common in open woodland habitats of the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Some have even been found as far as Honduras and Nicaragua. In the winter, these birds can also be seen in the Greater Antilles.

What is a chipping sparrow's habitat?

Chipping sparrows prefer an open woodland habitat compared to closed forests. They also like to live in mild conditions, and they often migrate to warmer places in the winters.

Unlike other birds, they aren't very active in grasslands. They like habitat with coniferous trees and shrubby undergrowths, where they can nest during the breeding season.

Chipping sparrows are also common in urban and suburban areas and can even nest in trees or places that have been manicured by men. This bird species often compete with the American tree sparrows for habitable space.

Who do chipping sparrows live with?

Though the chipping sparrow is often seen foraging alone, they can also form flocks, especially during the fall and winter times. While forming a flock, they become less territorial and more social. Rather than forming singular flocks with just chipping sparrows, they often include other common bird species that are found in their habitat.

How long does a chipping sparrow live?

The average lifespan of a chipping sparrow is around seven to nine years in the wild. The survival rate of the birds can reduce due to the harsh and cold conditions of their habitats.

How do they reproduce?

The chipping sparrow is a primarily monogamous species, but polygyny is noticed in some flocks or populations. As soon as the males hit the breeding ground, the pairs are quickly formed, and they stay together till the chipping sparrow fledgling is able to find its own way out of the nest.

Songs and displays are tools of the male birds to lure the females. The breeding season for this bird usually spans from mid-April to July.

The monogamous pairs usually have two broods in a year, but some may even have three.

Both the female and the male birds are involved in collecting things for making the nests. The chipping sparrow nest site is usually 1-3 ft (30.5-91.4 cm) above the ground, and they do prefer breeding habitats with coniferous trees.

Grasses and roots are usually made to create nests, and it is primarily done by the females in the group. The chipping sparrow female lays about two to seven chipping sparrow eggs.

They may lay one egg daily, and the eggs are pale blue in color. The females incubate the eggs for 7-15 days before the hatching date arrives to give rise to young Chipping sparrows. Just after 12 days from hatching, the young birds are ready to leave their nests.

After three to five weeks or about 21-35 days of fledging, the young birds are fully independent. The chipping sparrow reaches sexual maturity within one year of its birth.

The breeding pair is quite protective of their nest. They usually hide their nests under a vegetation cover to protect them against predators. The parent birds feed the young with seeds. Soon after getting out of the nest, the birds will form flocks with others.

What is their conservation status?

Currently, the chipping sparrow species are categorized in the status of Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Even though their numbers aren't drastically declining, the birds have already been put under protection to save their population.

Chipping Sparrow Fun Facts

What do chipping sparrows look like?

Bird lovers enjoy Chipping sparrow facts.

These tiny North American birds are mainly known for their beautiful reddish-brown plumage. Both males and females of the species look alike, and there aren't many differences.

During the breeding season, the prominent red cap of the species on top of their heads sets them apart. Fall and winter are the seasons in which the head cap is most prominent.

That also gives rise to their name as the brown-headed sparrow. During the non-breeding season, the brown feathers of the birds have a grayish tinge.

The brown or chestnut brown feathers are contrasted with white ones, and these birds are known for their white chins. The juvenile chipping sparrow has more pinkish-colored legs, which develop into a deeper salmon-colored as they age.

The bill of the chipping sparrow is black on the top while having a pink or yellow underside. The brown-headed species also happens to have a long tail.

Due to molting during their breeding season, the birds can have a different look. The black lines circling their heads and eyes may get more prominent. The young chipping sparrows do not look very different from their family.

The main difference between the American tree sparrow and the chipping sparrow is the cap, which is duller for the chipping sparrow during the winter months. Also, the American tree sparrow has a rusty eye-line compared to the black chipping sparrow.

How cute are they?

The tiny birds definitely look cute and we will invariably fall in love with them after hearing their song. The bubbly and cheerful personality of the chipping sparrow definitely makes them a unique bird that resides in North America.

One of the most interesting facts about this species is the chipping sparrow sound. The chipping sparrow call is described as alarm-like, and you can never guess that such a small bird species can produce such a great sound.

Their name is derived from the chipping sparrow song that makes a 'chip' sound. They make these sounds while foraging in their habitat.

Another song that they make is the single noted trill that is quickly followed by repetitive 'tssip' sounds. Males of the species are the ones who go on making the different songs, especially during the breeding season.

Through the male chipping sparrow's sounds, it communicates the availability to the female chipping sparrow while letting the other birds know about their territory. The 'zee-zee-zee' song is another one that is widely used by this species of birds.

How big is a chipping sparrow?

The usual chipping sparrow size is around 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm) and they have a wingspan of around 8.3 in (21 cm). Even though the males can be a little bigger compared to the females, not much difference is seen.

The Cornell Lab specifies the chipping sparrow to be a little bigger than the chickadee that grows to an average length of 4.7 in (12 cm). Like all other sparrows, the chipping sparrow is also a very tiny bird with a huge personality.

How fast can a chipping sparrow fly?

The average speed of chipping sparrows is 13.7-19.9 mph (22-32 kph). These birds are also quite fast on the ground.

How much does a chipping sparrow weigh?

The average weight of the chipping sparrow is 0.4-0.6 oz (11-16 g). However, their weight may increase during the winter season when eating more food for survival in harsh conditions.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no distinct names for the male and female of the chipping sparrow species.

What would you call a baby chipping sparrow?

A chipping sparrow baby is called a chick or a hatchling.

What do they eat?

Chipping sparrows are omnivores, predominantly, granivores as they sustain seeds and grains. Throughout the year, the chipping sparrow forages on the ground, hunting for suitable food.

Crabgrass and yellow foxtail seeds are the favorite foods of the chipping sparrow. However, they will also eat several different types of seeds. Even though they are dominantly granivores, they may indulge in eating insects during the breeding season.

As chipping sparrows do migrate in mixed flocks during the winter, the solitary forager turns into a group forager to get the maximum amount of food. They may even eat fruits and cherries.

Are they aggressive?

Chipping sparrows aren't inherently aggressive creatures, but like other wild birds, they also have the ability to attack if they find someone irritating. So, if you see a chipping sparrow out in the wild, do not try to handle it by yourself.

Would they make a good pet?

The chipping sparrows aren't meant for dwelling in human homes. They are a wild bird species that like to inhabit open areas, and keeping them in a cage will restrict their life.

However, the chipping sparrow lives close by human in urban or suburban areas. So, if you see chipping sparrow populations near your home, do not forget to give them food.

Did you know...

The nests of chipping sparrows are flimsy in nature.

There are two known subspecies of the birds consisting of the S. p. arizonae and the S. p. stridula.

Has a Chipping sparrow accidentally entered your house? Be gentle while getting them outside. Try to open the doors and windows so that they can escape without getting into any trouble.

How much do chipping sparrows have to eat to survive winter?

During the winter months, the birds form flocks of 25-50 sparrows to forage together and to travel in a group. And, the flocks may also include another type of sparrow.

Some sources say that each chipping sparrow must consume over 2 lb (0.9 kg) of seeds during the harsh North American winter months to survive. It can include eating 70 times their body weight to keep themselves energized.

How often do chipping sparrows molt?

The chipping sparrows molt twice a year, and their breeding plumage is different from their usual color. The distinctive red cap is something to notice; however, they do get an orangish-rust tint on the upper part of the body after the molting. In the breeding species, a black trans-ocular line is also prominent on their heads.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including shrike, or partridge.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our sparrow coloring pages.

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Sources

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/chipping-sparrow

http://birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/chipping_sparrow

https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/237/_/Chipping_Sparrow.aspx

https://georgiawildlife.com/out-my-backdoor-more-chipping-sparrow-meets-eye

http://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/Spizella_passerina/

https://houstonaudubon.org/birding/gallery/chipping-sparrow.html

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel

Bachelor of Business Management

Yashvee Patel picture

Yashvee PatelBachelor of Business Management

Yashvee has won awards for both her writing and badminton skills. She holds a business administration honors degree and has previously interned with social media clients and worked on content for an international student festival. Yashvee has excelled in academic competitions, ranking in the top 100 in the Unified International English Olympiad and placing second in an essay-writing competition. Additionally, she has won the inter-school singles badminton title for two consecutive years.

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