Spizelloides Arborea – American Tree Sparrow

Spizelloides Arborea - American Tree Sparrow in the United States

Spizelloides arborea in Latin, the American tree sparrow also known as the winter sparrow, is a medium-sized New World sparrow that can be found in the Northern part of the United States. It belongs to the Passerellidae family.

It had previously been placed in the genus Spizella, but molecular evidence from multiple loci suggested that it should be placed in its own genus.

Quick Overview: Spizelloides Arborea – American Tree Sparrow
Body size: Around 6.25 in (16 cm) and a weight of 20 g (0.7 oz)
Main colors: Yellow, Gray, Brownish-Red
Range: Northern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: January, February, December
Conservation Status: Least Concern

American tree sparrow Description

Americans have a rufous crown and eye-line, dark spot on the breast, long notched tail, dark upper mandible, and yellow lower mandible. With rufous patches on the breast sides and gray head, chin, throat, breast, and underparts. Their wings are brownish-red. Males and females look alike. Adults have to streak on their sides and breast.

Spizelloides Arborea - American Tree Sparrow in the United States
Spizelloides Arborea – American Tree Sparrow. Source: Wikipedia


These birds have a length of 6.25 in (16 cm) and a weight of 20 g (0.7 oz). Their wings could range 9.75 in (25 cm).


The American tree sparrow is omnivorous, eating seeds, berries, and insects. American tree sparrows eat grass and weed seeds in the winter. Insects and spiders are their main summer diet.


This species breeds near the tree line in open scrubby areas with willows, birches, alder thickets, or stunted spruce. Open tundra with scattered shrubs near lakes or bogs. Wildflowers and wetlands provide habitat for them.


This species is territorial during the breeding season. Males sing to claim territories and defend them, while females occasionally chase intruders. An area’s interior is used the earliest in the day, with activity spreading to its perimeter later. They do not actively defend winter territories. In the winter, they form foraging flocks with dominant individuals.

Spizelloides arborea Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Passerellidae
  • Genus: Spizelloids
  • Species: Spizelloids arborea

Other common names

The American tree sparrow is also known to be called a Winter sparrow.

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the winter season (December to February).

Distribution of the American tree sparrow in the USA

In Alaska, the Yukon and Northwest Territories, northern Manitoba and Ontario, Labrador, and northern Quebec, American tree sparrows breed. Their winter range includes all of southern Canada, except the western 250 miles, the southern 450 miles.

The American tree sparrow can be found in the following states in the United States – Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Spizelloides Arborea – American Tree Sparrow

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