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Number of species: 72

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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 - LL4-0980-13209-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-1294.jpg Thumbnail - LL4-0980-13209-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-1295.jpg Thumbnail - LL4-0980-13209-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-1296.jpg

Thumbnail - MR3-2621-40007-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-2086.jpg Thumbnail - MR3-2621-40007-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-2087.jpg Thumbnail - MR3-2621-40007-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-2088.jpg
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 - LG3-NA_1546-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-4141.jpg Thumbnail - LG3-NA_1546-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-4142.jpg Thumbnail - LG3-NA_1546-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-4143.jpg
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
Thumbnail - MH3-2221-82191-Passerculus_sandwichensis-470.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2221-82191-Passerculus_sandwichensis-471.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2221-82191-Passerculus_sandwichensis-472.jpg

Thumbnail - MG-240189910-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-1123.jpg
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 - MH3-NA_405-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-886.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-NA_405-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-887.jpg

Thumbnail - MG-240189933-Passerculus_sandwichensis_AOU_7_52-1124.jpg

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
Number of species: 72

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