White Crowned Sparrow

Zonotrichia leucophrys

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A delicate and beautiful songbird, the White Crowned Sparrow is a favorite with bird watchers all along the Oregon Coast. The bird’s most striking feature is the black and white stripes along the head. The upper-side of the body is also be streaked, but usually in more drab colors including tans and browns. The streaks are more noticeable on the wings. The underside of the body is a light gray. The bird’s bill is usually pink or yellow.

The bird can usually be spotted on the ground in woodlands or dense scrub where it forages for seeds, plant parts or insects. In the past, the sparrow has been of particular interest to scientists because of its migration behavior. Some specimens have traveled over three hundred miles in a single day without resting. The sparrow has a natural alertness mechanism that allows it to go without sleep for up to two weeks – an obvious advantage during long migrations.

Range and Habitat

Found throughout North America, but along the coast from Alaska to southern California. The sparrow prefers to nest and feed in thick brush or grasslands.

Conservation Status