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American tree sparrow

American tree sparrow (Spizelloides arborea)
Photo © Mary Kay Rubey

Features and Behaviors

The American tree sparrow is about six inches in length (tail tip to bill tip in preserved specimen). This small bird has a single, dark spot on the breast and a red-brown cap. The bill is dark above and yellow below. Two, white wing bars are present.

The American tree sparrow is a common migrant and winter resident of Illinois. It breeds in the northern Arctic. Fall migrants begin arriving in Illinois in late October each year. The Illinois habitat of this species includes weedy fields, fence rows, woodland edges, thickets and grain fields. This bird moves in small or large flocks. Its song opens on one or two high notes and is variable. The American tree sparrow eats seeds, insects and small fruits.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Passerellidae

Illinois Status: common, native