SAVANNAH SPARROW – (Passerculus sandwichensis)
The Savannah sparrow has a distinctive yellow spot before the eye that helps in differentiating it from other similar sparrows. The back is brown with darker streaks. The underparts are grey with brown streaks. The bird also has a faint brown marking in the middle of the breast. The brown head feathers are sometimes raised, giving the appearance of a crest. Its length is about 15 cm (6 in.). The Savannah sparrow has many subspecies that vary in plumage.
NAME: The English name ‘Sparrow’ derives from Anglo-Saxon ‘Spearwa’, which means ‘flutterer’, and it has been applied to many small birds (Choate). The name ‘Savannah’ does not derive from the fact that this bird can be found in the savannah, but rather from the town name where the first specimen was found. The word ‘sandwichensis’ refers to a place name, Sandwich.
This bird inhabits fields and grasslands and other open spaces. In the summer they eat mostly insects, and in the winter mostly seeds.
The Savannah sparrow breeds in PEI and is very common, except in the winter. They are widespread in North America and breed through all of Canada, Alaska, and the northern part of the USA. This bird will winter in the southern part of the USA and Mexico.