Swamp sparrow

Swamp sparrow
Melospiza georgiana

Photo by Richard Dumoulin (Oiseaux)

Common name:
swamp sparrow (en); escrevedeira-dos-pântanos (pt); bruant des marais (fr); sabanero platanero (es); sumpfammer (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae

The swamp sparrow breeds across most of Canada from the Rocky mountains to Newfoundland and in the north-eastern United States south to Missouri, Ohio and Maryland. Most population migrate south to winter in the eastern United States from Connecticut and Michigan south to Florida and Texas, and also in northern Mexico.

These birds are 12-14 cm long and have a wingspan of 18-19 cm. They weigh 11-24 g.

The swamp sparrow is found in various wetland habitats, namely freshwater and tidal marshes, bogs, wet meadows, and swamps.

During spring and summer they are mostly insectivorous, eating various aquatic invertebrates, but they also eat seeds and fruits, which become the main food source during autumn and winter.

Swamp sparrows are monogamous. The nest is a bulky open cup of dry grasses, sedges, plant stalks, and leaves, lined with fine grass, plant fibres, and occasionally hair. It is placed in dense cattails, grasses, or scrubs, or sometimes on the ground. There the female lays 2-6 green of bluish-green eggs with brown blotches, which she incubates alone for 12-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 10-13 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 9 million individuals. The population has undergone a large increase of 16% per decade over the last 40 years, so the swamp sparrow is not threatened at present.

Missouri, Ohio, and Maryland,

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