Adult song sparrows have brown upperparts with dark streaks on the back and are white underneath with dark streaking and a dark brown spot in the middle of the breast. They have a brown cap and a long brown rounded tail. Their face is grey with a streak through the eye. They are highly variable in size across numerous subspecies. The body length ranges from 11 to 18 cm (4.3 to 7.1 in) and the wingspan is from 18 to 25.4 cm (7.1 to 10 in). Body mass ranges from 11.9 to 53 g.

Habitat and Distribution

Their favourite habitat is brushy areas and marshes, including salt marshes, across most of Canada and the United States. They also thrive in human areas, such as in suburbs, along edges in agricultural areas, and along roadsides. In southern locations, they are permanent residents. Northern birds migrate to the southern United States or Mexico. The song sparrow is a very rare vagrant to western Europe, with a few recorded in Great Britain and Norway.


These birds forage on the ground, in shrubs or in very shallow water. They mainly eat insects and seeds. Birds in salt marshes may also eat small crustaceans.


The Song Sparrow lays 3 to 5 eggs. The egg coloring is a brown spotted greenish-white. They nest either in a sheltered location on the ground or in trees or shrubs.