English  | Français  | Español
Lists:  MEX        
Number of species: 72

Select a species:

  
 
:   Clear  

Swamp Sparrow - Melospiza georgiana

Most Swamp Sparrows can be aged by plumage characteristics. Adults can be sexed by both plumage and brood patch / cloacal protuberance during the breeding season, but sex can usually not be determined for Swamp Sparrows in formative or basic plumage.

Juvenile plumage is very similar to that of Song and Lincoln's Sparrows; Swamp Sparrow tends to have particularly short wings and can be identified by the combination of narrow malar stripes and yellowish upper mouth lining

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
  • Look for molt limits on the wing - on HY/SY birds there is a contrast between replaced greater coverts and the paler and more worn primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; on AHY birds the wing is more uniform with more extensive rusty edging to most feathers, but beware the pseudolimit between the greater coverts and adjacent tracts
  • In fall, examine the crown - HY birds have little to no rufous, while AHY birds have a substantial amount of rufous

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 
Juvenile / Unknown
Finely streaked breast; wing relatively uniform but with minimal rusty edging; narrow and tapered rectrices.
Thumbnail - MG2-2351-14801-Melospiza_georgiana_AOU_7_52-1968.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2351-14801-Melospiza_georgiana_AOU_7_52-1970.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2351-14801-Melospiza_georgiana_AOU_7_52-1969.jpg
Date: Jun 27
Hatch year / Unknown
Molt limit between greater coverts and tertials vs. a paler block of primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; little or no rusty edging to primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; narrow and tapered rectrices
Thumbnail - MG2-2321-00468-Melospiza_georgiana_AOU_7_52-1965.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2321-00468-Melospiza_georgiana_AOU_7_52-1967.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2321-00468-Melospiza_georgiana_AOU_7_52-1966.jpg
Date: Sep 4
After hatch year / Unknown
Wing largely uniform in colour (rusty brown) and wear; rectrices relatively broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2351-40257-Melospiza_georgiana_AOU_7_52-1959.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2351-40257-Melospiza_georgiana_AOU_7_52-1961.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2351-40257-Melospiza_georgiana_AOU_7_52-1960.jpg
Date: Sep 20
Second year / Unknown
Molt limit between greater coverts and tertials vs. a paler block of primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; rectrices usually narrow, tapered, and quite worn; from June to August only, individuals in active molt may show dark new feathers contrasting
Thumbnail - MG2-2401-97275-Melospiza_georgiana_AOU_7_52-1971.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2401-97275-Melospiza_georgiana_AOU_7_52-1973.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2401-97275-Melospiza_georgiana_AOU_7_52-1972.jpg
Date: Apr 18
After second year / Unknown
Wing largely uniform in colour (rusty brown) and wear; rectrices relatively broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2030-67549-Melospiza_georgiana_AOU_7_52-1962.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2030-67549-Melospiza_georgiana_AOU_7_52-1964.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2030-67549-Melospiza_georgiana_AOU_7_52-1963.jpg
Date: May 15

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

Select a species: