White-crowned Sparrow
(Zonotrichia leucophrys)

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned sparrows are found at a variety of elevations, depending on the season. In the summer they inhabit forested ecosystems. In the winter they move to desert/lowland ecosystems. Their population trend is unknown. They forage on the ground for seeds, insects, and fruit. Nesting occurs between April and August. Nests are built in dense vegetation either on or near the ground. The female incubates the eggs for 11-16 days, and the young fledge in another 7-12 days. They likely only raise one brood.

Immature white-crowned sparrows have not yet molted into their namesake white crown, and instead show more of a rufous and gray crown. These young birds are sometimes confused for other types of sparrows.

In the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, white-crowned sparrows are perhaps our most common winter resident. Look for them in large flocks in any desert shrub habitat.

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