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Species Guide
A photo of a American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea)
American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow

Spizelloides arborea

The American tree sparrow, scientifically known as Spizelloides arborea, is a medium-sized sparrow that graces the New World with its presence. This charming bird is adorned with a rusty cap and a delicate grey underbelly, punctuated by a small, enigmatic dark spot on its breast. Its back showcases a rustic hue with lighter stripes, while its wings boast white bars against a brown canvas. The slim tail adds to its elegant silhouette. A grey face with a rust-colored line passing through the eye and light brown splashes on the flanks complete the bird's distinctive attire.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the American tree sparrow, look for its rusty head cap and the singular dark spot on its breast. The bird's back is a tapestry of rust and lighter stripes, and its wings are marked with white bars. The face is grey with a rust-colored line through the eye, and the flanks are touched with light brown. Its size is notable, with a length of 5.5 inches (14 cm), a wingspan of 9.4 inches (24 cm), and a weight ranging from 0.5 to 1.0 ounces (13-28 g).


The breeding grounds of the American tree sparrow are found in the tundra or at the northernmost edges of the boreal forest across Alaska and northern Canada. They construct their nests on the ground, blending seamlessly with the natural landscape.


As the seasons change, the American tree sparrow embarks on a migration to the milder climates of southern Canada and the United States, where it spends the winter months.


These sociable birds often forage in flocks when not nesting, scouring the ground or low bushes for sustenance. They are frequently observed in the company of dark-eyed juncos, especially near feeders.

Song & Calls

The song of the American tree sparrow is a melodious high warble that descends in pitch, transforming into a buzzy cadence as it concludes.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the American tree sparrow is primarily composed of seeds and insects, supplemented occasionally by a selection of berries. Their foraging habits are adaptable, taking advantage of both natural provisions and the offerings of bird feeders.

Conservation status

The conservation status of the American tree sparrow is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating a stable population without immediate threats to its survival.

Similar Species

The American tree sparrow bears a resemblance to the chipping sparrow, but can be distinguished by its unique breast spot and facial markings.

American Tree Sparrow Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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American Tree Sparrows on Birda


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