American Tree Sparrow

Fast Facts:

  • Common Name:
    American Tree Sparrow
  • Scientific Name:
    Spizelloides arborea
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Size: 5.5-6.5 inches long
  • Weight: .5-1 ounce


The small, rounded American tree sparrows are known to puff their feathers, which gives them a fluffier look. Overall, they’re grayish beige coloring is accented with an orange/rusty cap and matching eyeline with black and white streaks throughout their wings and upper parts. Their bellies are a lighter tan-to-white and their tails are long and thin.

Habitat and Migration

American tree sparrows like to create their nests away from human activity, opting for brushy areas, weed-filled spots, and among taller trees. They’re commonly found throughout Canada and throughout much of the United States, typically steering clear from the southernmost states and along the west coast. Breeding takes place in the northern edges of Canada and Alaska, while they winter in the Midwest and northern parts of the U.S.

Social Behavior

Known to hang out in smaller flocks, American tree sparrows are ground foragers and can often be seen hopping along, scratching up grass in search of food. During the winter, they can be seen hitting taller weeds with their wings to shake seeds loose, then grab them as they fall on the snow. Small pouches in their necks allow them to store up to 1,000 seeds! Their nests are usually made of a mixture of bits of tree bark, feathers, animal fur, and even hair.

Des Moines Feed Blends

  • Cardinal
  • Parkview
  • Outdoor Finch

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