This sparrow of the southeast has a rounded tail, flat crown, and a fairly large bill. The upper mandible is darker than the lower mandible. Upperparts are gray with rufous streaking. Birds in the southeast part of the range have darker streaking. The blackish tertials are edged in rufous. The head shows a rufous crown with a pale median stripe, a clearly defined gray supercilium, a rufous to brown eye line, a gray cheek, and a thin dark malar stripe. The breast and sides are unmarked buffy, and the belly is white. Juvenile has streaked breast and sides. The molt sequence of this species (shared by Cassin's Sparrow) is unusual in that hatch-year birds molt twice before their first spring and after hatch-year bird undergo an extended molt that lasts from February through August.
Length: 13 (cm) Wingspan: 20 (cm)
Song is an introductory note, followed by warbling series of notes on another pitch. Each rendition is slightly different than the previous one.
Historically found in mature pine forests with grassy/palmetto understory. Now also uses clear cuts and other open areas that have thick grasses and few shrubs.
Except when singing from an exposed perch, usually secretive. Often runs rather than flies, when disturbed; sometimes entering underground burrows of tortoises and armadillos.
Forages on the ground for seeds and insects.
Expanded Life History
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