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22 Common Types of Sparrows in Oklahoma (With Pictures)

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a house sparrow on a tree branch

There are many species of sparrows found within the United States but while some of these birds are very widespread, others have smaller numbers and more limited ranges. Regardless of where you live in Oklahoma, you should have no trouble seeing sparrows, but certain species will be much more common than others.

In the article, we will go over the most common types of sparrows found within the state and also give you some more detailed information about these birds and their ranges within Oklahoma and throughout the nation.

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The 22 Common Types of Sparrows in Oklahoma

1. House Sparrow

two house sparrows
Photo Credit: betexion, Pixabay
Scientific Name:  Passer domesticus
Weight 0.85 – 1.4 oz
Length: 5.9-6.3 inches
Wingspan: 8.3-9.4 inches

The house sparrow is a non-native species that was first introduced to the United States in 1851. They quickly spread throughout the country and are now one of the most common backyard birds in the nation.

They enjoy nesting in manmade structures rather than other natural nesting places like trees. They are very protective of their domain and are seen as pests because they will drive native species out of their nests.

House sparrows are typically found in more urban areas and towns where houses and buildings are plentiful. These ground foragers can be found year-round throughout the state of Oklahoma.

2. Field Sparrow

Field Sparrow
Photo Credit: InspiredImages, Pixabay
Scientific Name:  Spizella pusilla
Weight 0.4 – 0.5 ounces
Length: 4.7 – 5.9 inches
Wingspan: 7.5 – 8 inches

Field sparrows can be found throughout the year in all areas of Oklahoma except for the western portion of the panhandle. They tend to steer clear of urban and residential areas and stick to the woodlands, prairies, and savannahs.

They are commonly observed in the early mornings during the spring and summer when the males are perched and singing. Field sparrows in the Great Plains region are typically a bit larger, paler, and grayer in coloration compared to those found in the Eastern United States.

Though they are a common species that still maintain healthy numbers in the prairies, their population has been in steep decline due to suburban expansion. Unlike the house sparrow, the field sparrow will not nest on or near manmade structures.

3. Chipping Sparrow

close up of a chipping sparrow
Photo Credit: Bernell, Pixabay
Scientific Name:  Spizella passerina
Weight 0.4 – 0.5 ounces
Length: 5 – 5.8 inches
Wingspan: 8 – 9 inches

The Chipping sparrow can be seen all year round in the far southeastern portion of Oklahoma and during the breeding season throughout the eastern half of the state. They are ground foragers with a diet consisting of mostly insects and seeds.

 These birds were much more common in residential areas during the 19th century but after the introduction of the house sparrow, they’ve taken a backseat.

Chipping sparrows are highly adaptable but prefer pine woods and edges. They migrate in large flocks during the spring and fall.

4. Rufous-crowned Sparrow

Rufous crowned Sparrow
Photo Credit: Liam Huber, Shutterstock
Scientific Name:  Aimophila ruficeps
Weight 0.71 – 0.88 ounces
Length: 5.25 – 6 inches
Wingspan: 8 – 8.5 inches

The Rufous-crowned sparrow is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. They prefer brushy habitats that vary depending on the range. They are found in Oklahoma during all seasons in the southwestern portion of the state.

They are slower-moving birds that will forage together for a variety of insects, arachnids, seeds, and grasses. The population of Rufous-crowned sparrows has been in decline in recent years, but they remain widespread.

5. Canyon Towhee

Canyon Towhee
Image Credit: Jumpstory
Scientific Name:  Melozone fusca
Weight 1.3 – 1.9 ounces
Length: 8.3 – 9.8 inches
Wingspan: 11 – 11.5 inches

The Canyon Towhee may not be widespread throughout Oklahoma, but they can be found in the very western tip of the panhandle all year round. They are most common throughout New Mexico, Arizona, West Texas, and down into Mexico.

These birds are found in brushy areas of canyons and the dry, desert foothills of the southwest. They are primarily ground foragers that feast mostly on insects and seeds. Unlike most other sparrows, the Canyon Towhee is non-migratory and has a very limited range.

6. Bachman’s Sparrow

Bachmans Sparrow with mouth wide open
Image Credit: Archaeopteryx Tours, Shutterstock
Scientific Name:  Peucaea aestivalis
Weight 0.6-0.8 ounces
Length: 4.8 – 6 inches
Wingspan: 7.0 – 7.5 inches

The Bachman’s Sparrow is common in the southeastern portion of the United States. Though not nearly as common to observe, they can be found all year round in the very southeastern tip of Oklahoma and throughout Arkansas and part of northeastern Oklahoma during the breeding season.

The Bachman’s sparrow used to expand much further north, but habitat loss has had a severe negative impact on not only their range but their numbers, too. They feed mostly on insects during the summer months and seeds during the wintertime. They gravitate toward open pine or oak woods and grassy areas.

7. Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow
Image Credit: Peter Klopp, Pixabay
Scientific Name:  Chondestes grammacus
Weight 0.8 – 1.2 ounces
Length: 5 to 9 inches
Wingspan: 6 – 7 inches

Larks sparrows are widespread throughout the western United States while their numbers have declined significantly east of the Mississippi River. They migrate in late spring and early fall and are very common in Oklahoma during the breeding season.

They are much more common in the Midwest and the west. Their habitat consists of open country and farmland with accessible bush and trees. They often nest on the ground or in low-lying shrubs or small trees. Their diet consists mainly of insects and seeds but will also feed on weeds and grains during the winter.

8. Grasshopper Sparrow

Grasshopper sparrow standing on a tree stump
Image Credit: Pxhere
Scientific Name:  Ammodramus savannarum
Weight 0.51 – 0.71 ounces
Length: 4.3 – 4.5 inches
Wingspan: 8 – 8.5 inches

Grasshopper sparrows enjoy grasslands, prairies, and hayfields, which explains why Oklahoma is one of the states where they are commonly found during the breeding season. These birds are rare in the far western region of the United States but can be found year-round in many portions in the southeast.

They migrate during April and October and their song sounds like the buzz of a grasshopper. This sparrow rarely makes its way into Canada. During the breeding season, they tend to be most common in the central US.

Some Grasshopper sparrows have permanent residence in areas of the southern United States, but the migratory birds will winter in these areas and down into Mexico.

9. Cassin’s Sparrow

Cassin’s Sparrow
Image Credit: Agami Photo Agency, Shutterstock
Scientific Name:  Peucaea cassinii
Weight 0.6-0.7 ounces
Length: 5.1-5.9 inches
Wingspan: 7.5 – 8 inches

The Cassin’s sparrow is a larger species that can be found in the western portion of Oklahoma during the summer breeding season. They prefer the dry, arid grasslands of the American southwest.

Their occurrence within their summer range is irregular due to their tendency to follow rainfall. They can be found year-round in southwestern Texas and down into Mexico. Desert grasslands and brushy fields are their desired habitat, and you can find them in these areas during both winter and migration.

A rare sparrow in the United States except for a limited range of no more than 8 states, they are plain brown in color and feed on insects and seeds.

10. Black-throated Sparrow

black-throated sparrow bird in a desert
Image Credit: ThreeMilesPerHour, Pixabay
Scientific Name:  Amphispiza bilineata
Weight 0.4–0.5 ounces
Length: 4.7–5.5 inches
Wingspan: 7.5 – 8.5 inches

The Black-throated sparrow is arguably the least common of the common sparrows you can find in Oklahoma. They spend year-round in the southern regions of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and down into Mexico.

During the breeding season, this unique species will make its way into the western part of the Oklahoma panhandle. Though during this time, they are much more likely to be easily observed in the states farther west.

The reason they are found throughout the southwest is that they prefer arid brush, desert, and a variety of other dry habitats.

11. Dark-eyed Junco

dark-eyed junco bird perching on tree branch
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Scientific Name:  Junco hyemalis
Weight 0.63 – 1.06 ounces
Length: 4.9 – 6.5 inches
Wingspan: 7.1 – 9.8 inches

The Dark-eyed Junco is one of the most widespread sparrow species in the entire country. Not only are there year-round residents that inhabit the western United States and parts of the Northeast but they can be found throughout the entire country at one point or another.

In Oklahoma, this species is a common visitor of bird feeders during the winter months after they have migrated south from Canada and Alaska. They will feed heavily on insects during the summer but resort to a diet of seeds, weeds, and grasses when winter hits.

Flocks of Dark-eyed Juncos are commonly seen in suburban areas and along woodland edges. This species is common in coniferous forests and mixed woodland areas.

12. Harris’s Sparrow

harris sparrow
Image Credit: Sari ONeal, Shutterstock
Scientific Name:  Zonotrichia querula
Weight 0.92 – 1.73 ounces
Length: 6.7 – 7.9 inches
Wingspan: 10 – 11 inches

Harris’s sparrow is very common within their limited range, which includes the entire state of Oklahoma during winter. They are also common in north Texas, Kansas, and up into Nebraska during this time.

 They typically leave their nesting grounds in north-central Canada sometime during the late summer and arrive at their winter destination during late fall, typically the month of November.

These large sparrows were not discovered until 1931 due to their shy behavior. They have a varied diet of insects, seeds, and berries.

13. Song Sparrow

song sparrow bird
Image Credit: u_z4q28nbq, Pixabay
Scientific Name:  Melospiza melodia
Weight 0.6 – 0.85 inches
Length: 5 – 7 inches
Wingspan: 7 – 9 inches

The Song sparrow is another species that is extremely common throughout the entire United States. They make permanent residents in many areas in both the west and Midwest. The migratory song sparrows will winter throughout the state of Oklahoma and throughout the south.

During the breeding season, they will make their way up to the far northern states and Canada. Song sparrows are found in a variety of habitats including thickets, brush, marshes, and woodland edges.

They are commonly seen in gardens and along the roadside but do exhibit a shyer behavior compared to some other species of sparrow. Though their diet consists mainly of insects and seeds, those that reach the coastal marshes will feed on mollusks, small crustaceans, and sometimes small fish.

14. Lincoln’s Sparrow

Lincolns Sparrow
Image Credit: stephmcblack, Pixabay
Scientific Name:  Melospiza lincolnii
Weight 0.6-0.7 ounces
Length: 5.1-5.9 inches
Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 inches

The Lincoln’s sparrow is a wintertime resident of Oklahoma, though they are much denser further south into Texas and Mexico. They spend their breeding season throughout Canada, though certain populations have been known to frequent some areas in the western United States.

These sparrows are solitary and tend not to flock. They stick to dense, low vegetation close to water and feed primarily on insects and seeds. They migrate over an extended period in both spring and fall.

15. White-throated Sparrow

white throated sparrow
Image Credit: Piqsels
Scientific Name:  Zonotrichia albicollis
Weight 0.78 – 1.13 ounces
Length: 5.9 – 7.5 inches
Wingspan: 8.5 – 9.5 inches

The White-throated sparrow is a late fall migrator that is very widespread. They spend their winters throughout most of the eastern half of the United States but are also common as far west as Oklahoma and Texas.

During the breeding season, they make their way into Canada and are very common throughout most of the country except for the extreme far north and the western region.

White-throated sparrows will feed primarily on insects during the breeding season and will resort to mostly seeds once the wintertime hits. There are two different color morphs of this species: one with a tan-striped head and one with a white-striped head.

16. Fox Sparrow

slate colored fox sparrow
Image Credit: AZ Outdoor Photography, Shutterstock
Scientific Name:  Passerella iliaca
Weight 0.9 – 1.6 ounces
Length: 5.9 – 7.5 inches
Wingspan: 10.5 – 11.4 inches

The Fox sparrow spends its winters in the southeast portion of the United States and migrates far north into northern Canada and Alaska during early spring. Certain populations will winter up and down the Pacific coast as well.

As for Oklahoma, you are most likely to see this species during the winter in the eastern half of the state. The farther east, the more common the Fox sparrow will be during this time.

Like most sparrows, their diet consists primarily of seeds and insects. When fall comes around they will make their way south for the winter. They are most likely to inhabit wooded areas and places with undergrowth and lots of brush.

17. Eastern Towhee

eastern towhee eating
Image Credit: milesmoody, Pixabay
Scientific Name:  Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Weight 1.1 to 1.9 ounces
Length: 6.8 – 9.1 inches
Wingspan: 7.9 – 11.8 inches

The Eastern Towhee understandably gets its name from its abundance in the eastern United States. The northern birds are migratory while the southern birds tend to stay in place all year round.

 Some birds spend all season in the southeast extending up as far north as southern Ohio and West Virginia. The southeastern region of Oklahoma and eastern Texas sees a lot of Eastern Towhees during the wintertime.

They eat a varied diet of insects, seeds, and berries depending on the region they live in. This species gravitates toward open woods, brushy edges, and areas of undergrowth.

18. American Tree Sparrow

american tree sparrow bird perching on a tree branch
Image Credit: Canadian-Nature-Visions, Pixabay
Scientific Name:  Spizelloides arborea
Weight 0.5-1.0 ounces
Length: 5 – 6 inches
Wingspan: 8.5 – 9.5 inches

The American Tree sparrow spends the breeding season extremely far north into northern Canada and Alaska. They winter in the United States heavily throughout the Midwest and the upper east coast.

This species is much more common in the far northern region of Oklahoma during the winter but can be observed throughout the entire state during the season. They inhabit the arctic scrubs and northern forests that turn into the tundra.

They feast on a diet of seeds, grasses, and weeds during the winter but will also feed on insects and berries when the season is right. They are a common bird to find out on bird feeders.

19. Swamp Sparrow

swamp sparrow
Image Credit: Jean van der Meulen, Pixabay
Scientific Name:  Melospiza georgiana
Weight 0.5 – 0.8 ounces
Length: 4.7 – 5.9 inches
Wingspan: 7.1 – 7.5 inches

The Swamp sparrow spends the spring and summer in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and up into Canada except for the western region. Some year-round residents can be found in northern Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and along the upper east coast of the United States.

As for Oklahoma, residents can expect to see them during the winter, though they aren’t as common as some other species. They are most common in the eastern third of the state and don’t tend to range into the far west.

Swamp sparrows are drawn to marshes, bushes, cattails, and swampy regions, hence where they get the name. They feed heavily on insects but will also feast on seeds during the wintertime.

20. White-crowned Sparrow

white crowned spar
Image Credit: Kara Skye, Pixabay
Scientific Name:  Zonotrichia leucophrys
Weight 0.9 – 1.0 ounces
Length: 5.9 – 6.3 inches
Wingspan: 8.3 – 9.4 inches

The White-crowned sparrow spends the winter season throughout the entire state of Oklahoma. Certain populations of this species make a permanent residence along the Pacific coast spanning from southern California to northern Washington.

During the breeding season, these sparrows can be found far north in Alaska and Canada. Females typically spend their winter farther south compared to the males and while they do move eastward during this time, they are especially rare in the far eastern portion of the United States.

The White-crowned sparrow feeds on a variety of seeds, insects, and vegetable matter depending on the season. Of course, since they winter in Oklahoma, seeds will be their primary source of food during that time.

21. Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow
Image Credit: Canadian-Nature-Visions, Pixabay
Scientific Name:  Passerculus sandwichensis
Weight 0.53 – 1.02 ounces
Length: 4.3 – 6.7 inches
Wingspan: 7.1 – 9.8 inches

The Savannah sparrow spends the breeding season up north but winters in the southern United States. They are more commonly seen in the southeastern corner of Oklahoma during the winter, but they can be found anywhere in the state during this time.

They thrive in a variety of habitats including open fields, meadows, and prairies. The coastal populations gravitate toward salt marshes, dunes, and along the shore. They feed mostly on insects and seeds with coastal birds also resorting to small crustaceans and mollusks.

These sparrows make their way up north during the breeding season and are common visitors up into Northern Canada and Alaska. They have healthy, abundant numbers and aren’t nearly as shy as some other species.

22. Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee perched
Image Credit: Veronika_Andrews, Pixabay
Scientific Name:  Pipilo maculatus
Weight 1.2 – 1.7 ounces
Length: 6.7 – 8.3 inches
Wingspan: 10 – 11 inches

The Spotted Towhee is common in the western half of the United States and while it is not an all-year-round resident of Oklahoma, it is very common during the wintertime. They are found during all seasons in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of West Texas.

This species has a varied diet of seeds, insects, and berries. They were thought to have been the same species as the Eastern Towhee at one point, but they differ in both songs and calls, and the Spotted Towhee has more white spots on the upper portion of the body.

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While there are plenty of sparrows that make their way in and out of Oklahoma throughout the year, certain species are much more common than others. Once you have an idea of what types of sparrows are common to your region and what time of year they come around, it is much easier to identify your visitors.

Featured Image Credit: KnipsKaline, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.