Fun Field Sparrow Facts For Kids

Anusuya Mukherjee
Aug 29, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Oct 21, 2021
Learn about some amazing field sparrow facts that many people don't know.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.6 Min

Field sparrows (Spizella pusilla) are a small New World bird species native to North America. They thrive in open spaces like woodlands and open fields, quite distant from human settlements.

These omnivorous little sparrows feed upon grass, seeds, and small animals and nest atop tall trees. The warmer season marks the beginning of their mating season where females lay two to five eggs, building the nest all by themselves by interweaving grass strands.

The young ones fly out of their nest once they learn to fly and become independent of their parents. These birds are often attacked by many predators, but still manage to survive well in the wild.

However, their age is declining in recent years owing to constant habitat loss and insufficient conservation practices. Although now a species of Least Concern, the growing and unchecked urbanisation can fast deplete their populations in the coming years.

Want to know more about the field sparrows? Read on to know more. Check out some amazing information about the unique species of birds like tawny frogmouth and kagu here.

Field Sparrow Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a field sparrow?

The field sparrow is a New World species of sparrows that are small in size. They are one of the most common birds of North America.

What class of animal does a field sparrow belong to?

Field sparrows, a passerine bird species, belong to the class of Aves.

How many field sparrows are there in the world?

At present, there is no reliable data recorded about the exact number of field sparrows present in North America. Being a bird species of Least Concern, it is safe to say that their populations are not under threat and are in a stable condition.

Where does a field sparrow live?

Field sparrows are North American birds that are fairly common in the Rocky Mountains, Atlantic coast, North Dakota, southern Texas, New Hampshire, Florida, south of Ontario and southern Quebec.

What is a field sparrow's habitat?

The habitat of small field sparrows includes open areas with minimal trees. These birds are found to be breeding and nesting in the open agricultural fields, open forest edges, orchards, nurseries, shrublands, bushes, and dry savanna tracts.

Who do field sparrows live with?

Field sparrows are either found to live in small flocks atop medium-sized trees in or near open fields. The males have been spotted fighting with other males, marking and protecting their territories. As soon as the settlement is done, the male starts singing a song to attract females to mate and build up a family.

How long does a field sparrow live?

The average age of an adult field sparrow extends up to eight years and nine months in the wild. But the young ones often die after hatching out from the eggs at the onset of the winter season.

How do they reproduce?

The male field sparrow song is often heard when near them at the onset of the breeding season. A male and female once paired, remain together throughout the breeding season, forming a monogamous pair.

The breeding season starts in the warmer months and ends at the onset of the rainy season.

The usual breeding months are from April to August. Although a field sparrow nest is built entirely by the female, the male sparrow stays beside her continuously throughout the breeding season.

The nest is a bowl-shaped structure woven out of grass and hay. As they have a large number of predators at their nesting site, a female has to try several times at different places for nesting.

About two to five field sparrow eggs are laid by the females inside their nests.

The males bring in food for the females during the incubation period of 11-12 days. After hatching out of the eggs, the offspring are nourished and protected by the females and males for 24-36 days post-hatching, following which the young ones become independent adults, capable of flying, preying and collecting seeds and grass to feed upon.

What is their conservation status?

At present, the field sparrow (Spizella pusilla) has been listed as a bird species of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List. As forest clearing benefits these birds, they get a wider habitat range for breeding.

Since these birds dislike human interaction, they flee away from crowded areas. The rapid urbanisation of new land clearings may soon lead to considerable habitat loss, threatening their population size.

Field Sparrow Fun Facts

What do field sparrows look like?

The field sparrow (Spizella pusilla) is a small size bird species, native to North America. They have a fully feather-covered body and pink legs.

Their head is gray in color with a rusty-brown crown, white eye-ring and a pink bill, distinguishing them from other sparrow species. The upper back has dark blackish-brown feathers on its wings with streaks of pale yellow and white bands, stretching up to its tail. The transition from upper back to lower belly reflects ochre-yellow to pale yellow shades.

Field sparrows are omnivorous little sparrows

How cute are they?

These small bird species are extremely cute to look at. Their puffed up pale bellies and long tails give them an adorable appearance. When spotted at their breeding habitat, feeding on seeds or grass, they look very cute. The young ones, right after hatching, look like cute small feather balls resting in their nests.

How do they communicate?

Field sparrows can communicate verbally by singing a soft whistling song, pitching it higher into a trill. They are often known to have separate calls, each signifying a specific behavior. A male attracts a female by singing a sweet song. Thereafter, the offsprings learn to sing a melodious whistling song by imitating their parents.

How big is a field sparrow?

The average size of the North American field sparrow ranges from 4.9-5.9 in (12.5-15 cm). They are almost seven times smaller than a vulture, which often shares a similar habitat to the sparrows.

How fast can a field sparrow fly?

North American field sparrows are great flyers, flying across several miles from one country to another. However, the exact flying speed of these small sparrows is unknown.

How much does a field sparrow weigh?

The average weight of this bird is around 0.4 oz (11.3 g). Due to their small size and light-weight feathers, they have a lower weight.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names assigned to male field sparrows and female field sparrows.

What would you call a baby field sparrow?

A baby field sparrow does not have a specific name. They are referred to as a young field sparrow.

What do they eat?

Although they follow an omnivorous diet pattern, the populations of these birds mostly forage on the ground, looking for grass, seeds, and small shoots of plants. Grass and seeds make up most of their diet but they also feed on worms, small insects like spiders, houseflies, grasshoppers, and various other small animals.

As the leaves shed in winter, they switch to an animal diet. They obtain their food from their habitat of open fields, away from human settlements.

Are they dangerous?

These small birds of North America have not proved to be dangerous to humans at all. But they are great predators of their prey. They locate and attack their prey with their small but sharp beaks, tearing them into pieces to feed on easily.

Would they make a good pet?

 Keeping them as pets against their liking is not a good idea. Also, they are suited to flying across long distances so caging them at home is not a good option, as it can affect their health and considerably reduce their lifespan.

Did you know...

Field sparrows display a unique and adorable behavior of hopping up and down in the open fields while feeding on grass, seeds, grains or smaller animals.

They are also known as brown-headed cowbirds because of their distinct brown-colored crest feathers.

A small flock of this bird species, breeding together at a site is called a 'crue' of field sparrows.

Intensive farming and building developments are reducing the size of their habitat to survive and raise a family, awaiting proper conservation measures.

They are also found as a vulnerable bird species in Canada, where their populations are fast declining.

Grass seeds make up a maximum of 90% of their winter diet, as most of their preys either hibernate or migrate to warmer places in winter.

Populations of field sparrows migrate to warmer areas like the southern USA and Mexico in the winters, where they reside in small groups and nest whenever conditions are favourable.

What does a field sparrow sound like?

The field sparrow call can be of different types suited for different occasions. While foraging on seeds near the fields, they give calls that sound like 'seep'. Courtship calls are sung by males to attract females.

Trill calls are made while defending their breeding territories from other bird species or other field sparrows. The females give out cricket calls from the nest to ward off predators coming closer to the nest. 'Eeeeee' or 'zeeee' chip calls signify nearby threats from predators at their breeding territories.

What are sparrows afraid of?

Field sparrows are afraid of humans considering the gigantic body size of humans in comparison to theirs. As they are frightened by the presence of human beings, they are found to nest in distant open areas that are somewhat secluded from humans.

This bird is also scared of its predators that are several species of snakes and raccoons, that often hunt them and their young ones at their nest site.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these radjah shelduck facts and yellow warbler facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable mallard duck coloring pages.

Second image by Rhododendrites

North America: the Rocky Mountains Atlantic coast North Dakota southern Texas New Hampshire Florida south of Ontario and southern Quebec

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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