Harris's sparrow

Harris's sparrow
Zonotrichia querula

Photo by Mike Ross (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Harris’s sparrow (en); escrevedeira-de-Harris (pt); bruant à face noire (fr); chingolo de Harris (es); Harris-ammer (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

This species breeds in northern Canada, in the Northern Territories, Nunavut, northern Saskatchewan, northern Manitoba and northern Ontario. They migrate south to winter in the central United States, from South Dakota and Minnesota to Texas, and also in northern Mexico.

These birds are 17-20 cm long and have a wingspan of 27 cm. They weigh 26-49 g.

They breed in tundra scrublands and grasslands, and along the edges of boreal forests, using temperate grasslands, scrublands and rural gardens outside the breeding season.

They feed on seeds, fruits, arthropods, and young conifer needles.

Harris’s sparrows breed in May-August. They are monogamous and the nest is an open cup of mosses, small twigs, and lichens, lined with dried grass and often some caribou hair. It is placed on the ground, sometimes under a low scrub. There the female lays 3-5 pale green eggs with darker spots and blotches. The female incubates the eggs alone for 13-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 8-10 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 2 weeks later.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated is estimated at 3,7 million individuals. The population has undergone a small decline over the last 4 decades, but is not threatened.

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