White-crowned Sparrow

The White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) is a medium-sized sparrow found in brushy areas across northern Canada and the western United States. They prefer to nest either on the ground, low in bushes or under shrubs.

Adult birds have black and white stripes on their heads, grey faces, brown streaked upper parts and long tails. The wings are brown with bars and the underparts are grey. Their bill is pink or yellow. They are similar in appearance to the White-throated Sparrow but do not have the white throat markings.

Although northern birds migrate to the southern United States, in some parts of the west, they are permanent residents. White-crowned Sparrow is a very rare drifter to Western Europe.

These birds forage on the ground or in low vegetation, however in order to catch flying insects they will sometimes make short flights. Their preferred diet is seeds, other plant parts and insects. In winter, they often forage in flocks.

The call is a mournful Old Sam Peabody Peabody Peabody. (This is the white-throat song.)

The call of the white-crowned sparrow has many dialects, but the pugetensis subspecies sounds similar to “You can’t come and come and catch me!”