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Number of species: 80

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American Tree Sparrow - Spizelloides arborea

American Tree Sparrows can be relatively difficult to age.  While molt limits and rectrix shape can be helpful, both are often subtle, and many intermediates (especially in spring) may not be safely aged. Determination of sex is generally limited to 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 wing for molt limits - a slight contrast between darker/fresher greater coverts and tertials vs. the paler block of primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries is typical for HY/SY, while a wing more uniform in colour and wear suggests AHY/ASY

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 between the replaced greater coverts and tertials and a paler brown block comprising the primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; outer rectrices relatively narrow and tapered
Thumbnail - MG2-2600-15582-Spizella_arborea_AOU_7_52-1808.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-15582-Spizella_arborea_AOU_7_52-1810.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-15582-Spizella_arborea_AOU_7_52-1809.jpg
Date: Oct 28
After hatch year / Unknown
Wing relatively uniform in colour and wear; rectrices broad and fairly rounded 
Thumbnail - MG2-2600-15545-Spizella_arborea_AOU_7_52-1805.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-15545-Spizella_arborea_AOU_7_52-1807.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2600-15545-Spizella_arborea_AOU_7_52-1806.jpg
Date: Oct 27
Second year / Unknown
Molt limit between the replaced greater coverts and tertials and a paler brown block comprising the primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries; outer rectrices relatively narrow and tapered
Thumbnail - MG2-2690-79950-Spizella_arborea_AOU_7_52-1811.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2690-79950-Spizella_arborea_AOU_7_52-1813.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2690-79950-Spizella_arborea_AOU_7_52-1812.jpg
Date: Feb 22

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
After second year / Unknown Wing relatively uniform in colour and wear; rectrices broad and fairly rounded 
Number of species: 80

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