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Number of species: 80

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Savannah Sparrow - Passerculus sandwichensis

Many Savannah Sparrows can be aged using molt limits and rectrix shape, but by spring a fair number of intermediates cannot be reliably aged. Although females are on average slightly smaller than males, sex of most individuals is reliably determined only via brood patch / cloacal protuberance during the breeding season.

Quick Tips:

  • Look at the tail - uniformly narrow and pointed rectrices OR contrastingly fresh and broad central rectrices are indicative of HY/SY, while uniformly broad and more rounded rectrices are typical of AHY/ASY
  • Check the outer primary coverts - they are relatively narrow and pointed and medium brown on HY/SY birds, compared to relatively broad and rounded and dark brown on AHY/ASY birds

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory

Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.
Age / Sex  Image sets 
Hatch year / Unknown
Molt limit on wing showing a paler block of dull brown primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; narrow and tapered rectrices.
Thumbnail - MG2-9901-00002-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-1893.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-9901-00002-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-1895.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-9901-00002-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-1894.jpg
Date: Aug 28
After hatch year / Unknown
Wing relatively uniform in colour and wear, with broad and rounded dark brown primary coverts; broad and somewhat rounded rectrices.
Thumbnail - MG2-2221-82028-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-1887.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2221-82028-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-1889.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2221-82028-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-1888.jpg
Date: Sep 14
After second year / Unknown
Wing relatively uniform in colour and wear, with broad and rounded dark brown primary coverts; broad and somewhat rounded rectrices.
Thumbnail - MG2-2221-20734-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-1890.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2221-20734-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-1892.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2221-20734-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-1891.jpg
Date: May 5

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
Second year / Unknown Molt limit on wing showing a paler block of dull brown primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; narrow and tapered rectrices, sometimes mixed with replaced (and broader) central rectrices
Number of species: 80

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