WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW – (Zonotrichia leucophrys)
The White-crowned sparrow is a passerine bird with a brown top with white streaks, and grey under parts. It has a white band on top of the head bordered by two black bands. There’s a white band below the black one, starting from the eye, following by a black band also starting from the eye. The latter black band extends down the back of the neck. The bill and the legs are yellowish. It is approximately 15 cm (6 in.) long.
The white-crowned sparrow is similar to the White-throated sparrow with two differences – the former does not have a white throat in the male, and it also does not have a yellow lore (the part between the eye and the bill).
NAME: The English name ‘Sparrow’ derives from Anglo-Saxon ‘Spearwa’, which means ‘flutterer’, and it has been applied to many small birds (Choate). The Latin genus name ‘Zonotrichia’ is from Greek and means ‘band’ and ‘hair’.
The white-crowned sparrow feeds on insects mainly in the summer and on seeds, grains and berries in the winter. It breeds in grassy areas and forest edges or shrubs.
The white-crowned sparrow does not breed on PEI, and is uncommon in spring and fall, during migration. Its breeding area is the northern part of Canada and Alaska, and its wintering range is mainly the southern USA and Mexico.