South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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American Tree Sparrow

Spizella arborea

Length: 6.25 inches Wingspan: 9.5 inches Seasonality: Winter/Migrant
ID Keys: Rufous cap and eye stripe, two-toned bill, dark spot in center of breast, two white wing-bars

American Tree Sparrow - Spizella arboreaA cold weather sparrow seen in winter or in migration in South Dakota.  American Tree Sparrows nest in northern Canada and Alaska, farther north than any of their close relatives.  Often seen at residential feeders in the winter, often in conjunction with Juncos or other birds.

Habitat: In winter and migration through the state, residential areas, woodland edges and clearings, farms and farm fields, marshes and sloughs.

Diet: Dependent on season.  Mostly seeds in the winter, mostly insects in the summer.  Occasionally berries in either season.

Behavior: Prefers foraging along the ground or relatively low in the vegetation, often in small flocks, sometimes in mixed flocks with other species.

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota

Song: Clear warbles that descend throughout the song.  The call is a muffled teedeloo.

Migration: Summers in northern Canada and Alaska.  Winters throughout much of the United States.

Similar Species: Field Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow

Bird Feeders: Millet and other seeds

Conservation Status: Generally stable throughout its range.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, American Tree Sparrow

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - American Tree Sparrow"

3) American Tree Sparrow

Photo Information: January 2nd, 2005 -- Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls -- Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution American Tree Sparrow photos.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
American Tree Sparrow - Range map
South Dakota Status: Common winter visitor throughout the state.