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Chipping Sparrow

Scientific name: Spizella passerina

While many small brown birds may be hard to differentiate, the chipping sparrow is fairly easy to identify as it sports a bright chestnut crown, a white eyebrow line and black eye stripes. As its name suggests, it has a call of “chip, chip”. This bird, like the robin and bluebird, is a native to this region. Despite its adaptability its numbers have declined by 36% from the 1960’s. One theory for this event is its inability to compete with the non-native house sparrow.

Photo Credit: Missouri Department of Environmental Conservation


one-half ounce


5 1/2 inches

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The sparrow forages on the ground for insects and seeds. Like many other birds, it prefers the high protein nutrition of insects during the breeding season.


This bird has adapted well to humans and shares many of our habitats with us. They enjoy open tree-filled spaces.

Ecosystem Connections

The house sparrow is a non-native sparrow that has an aggressive survival strategy at the expense of other birds. They will ransack nests and kill native birds on murderous sprees.

Similar Species

There are several other birds going by the common name of sparrow, such the house sparrow, field sparrow, song sparrow, swamp sparrow and the white throated sparrow. Check out this article on sparrow identification tips.

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