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Lincoln's sparrow

Lincoln's sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)
Photo © Mary Kay Rubey

Features and Behaviors

An adult Lincoln's sparrow is five to five and one-half inches in length. The male and female are similar in appearance. This bird has a brown- and tan-speckled body feathers and stripes on its head. The belly, chest and throat feathers are cream-colored. There are thin, brown streaks on the chest. The sides of the face are gray-blue. There is a thin, cream ring around each eye.

Lincoln's sparrow is a fairly common migrant and rare winter resident in Illinois. It winters from the southern United States south to central America. Lincoln's sparrow lives in woodland thickets, wet meadows and bogs. This bird eats mostly insects and seeds. It hides in brush and grassy plants. The call of this bird is a gurgling noise. Nesting occurs from northern Wisconsin to Alaska. It may occasionally nest in Illinois. Spring migrants begin arriving in Illinois in late April. Fall migration typically begins in September.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native