May 18, 2018 – Cape Sparrow (Passer melanurus)
These sparrows are found in semi-arid regions of southern and southwestern Africa. Foraging mostly on the ground, they eat seeds, fruits, nectar, and other plant foods, as well as insects, including ants, beetles, and termites. Pairs build ball-shaped nests from grass, weed stems, plant fibers, feathers, and other materials. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks.
March 15, 2018 – Chestnut Sparrow (Passer eminibey)
These sparrows are found in parts of eastern Africa. They mostly eat seeds from grasses and other plants and often feed insects to their chicks. Their breeding season is closely linked to that of social weavers and males display near the weavers’ nests to attract mates. Pairs usually take over the nests of the weavers, sometimes building their own untidy domed nests.
February 13, 2018 – Orange-billed Sparrow (Arremon aurantiirostris)
These sparrows are found from southeastern Mexico through parts of Central America, into northwestern South America. Foraging on or near the ground in pairs or family groups, they eat insects, spiders, seeds, and fruits. They build bulky domed nests with side entrances on the ground from dry leaves, rootlets, ferns, and other materials. Males and females defend territories year-round, singing from low perches or the ground.
January 2, 2018 – Plain-backed Sparrow or Pegu Sparrow (Passer flaveolus)
These sparrows are found in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. They eat mostly plant foods, including grass seeds and berries, but feed aphids and other insects to their chicks. Pairs nest in loose colonies throughout the year, especially from January to July, likely raising two broods. Their nests are built from dry vegetation, lined with feathers. Both parents care for the chicks.
December 13, 2017 – Rufous-crowned Sparrow (Aimophila ruficeps)
Found in a spotty range across the southwestern United States and parts of Mexico, these sparrows spend most of their time on or near the ground. During the summer they mostly eat insects, switching mainly to stems, shoots, and seeds during the winter. Females build nests on the ground from dried grasses, rootlets, twigs, bark, and hair. Both parents feed the chicks. They may perform broken wing displays to draw predators away from the nest.
July 26, 2017 – Zapata Sparrow (Torreornis inexpectata)
These sparrows are found only in three separate ranges in western, north central, and southeastern Cuba. They eat insects, seeds, small fruits, small lizards, and in one part of their range, the eggs of apple snails. Pairs build cup-shaped nests from grass and other vegetation near the ground. They are classified as Endangered by the IUCN due to their small isolated populations and habitat loss.
May 15, 2017 – Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)
These sparrows are found in southern Canada, Mexico, and much of the United States, excluding the east. They feed primarily on seeds and insects, spending much of their time foraging on the ground. Unlike many other sparrows they walk while on the ground, rather than hopping. During the breeding season, pairs select their nesting sites together, with males placing small sticks at potential sites and females building the nests. They build the cup-shaped nests on the ground, in shrubs, or in small trees, from grass, twigs, or stems, and line them with fine grasses or horse hair. Pairs may also take over old mockingbird or thrasher nests, sometimes sharing these, as eggs and chicks of both species have been observed in the same nest. Females incubate the eggs alone, but both parents care for the chicks.