Maybe you saw a sparrow with white stripe on head on your last bird watching trip and you caught yourself scratching your head, as you couldn’t recognize the species. Luckily, birds that fit this description aren’t too common, and it’s likely that you’re seeing one particular species. In today’s article, we’ll be defining that species and take an overall look at it.

What Sparrow Has A White Stripe On Its Head?

You’ve most likely seen a White-crowned Sparrow in your travels – this bird has a distinct striping pattern on its head, with white and black interchanging in stripes. Black stripes usually go over the eyes.

There are other important elements you should use when identifying this bird – their wings are usually brown, while their chest, neck, and most of their belly are gray. There’s a difference between young and mature birds.

Younger birds don’t have black and white stripes on their face, as it takes time for the brown to turn into black. Instead, they have brown and white stripes – with a white stripe going down the middle of their face. Their chest and wings are the same as with adult birds.

They’re fairly small birds with a small bill, so recognizing them, while keeping all of this in mind, shouldn’t be difficult. They’re about 6 inches long and have a wingspan of 9 inches. They don’t weigh more than an ounce.

Overview Of The White-crowned Sparrow

We can find the White-crowned Sparrow all over North America. They usually breed in north Canada and the western United States. However, they can be spotted around the entire country, except for the East Coast (including Florida) during the entire year.

Overview Of The White-crowned Sparrow

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You can also catch a view of them in Mexico. It’s also true that they’ve been spotted in western Europe.

Regarding their natural habitat, these bids are in scrubby areas, where they usually feed on insects. Despite their flying capabilities, they usually forage on the ground to find insects, and they also build their nests on the ground.

Aside from insects, they’ll also eat seeds given the opportunity. Even though they’re generally solitary when it comes to feeding, they’ll spend the winter in flocks to maximize their efficiency.

Interestingly, these birds have developed an incredible ability to sleep and stay half-awake all the time – this is usually noticed during migration when they stay half-awake for two weeks.

When it comes to breeding and reproduction, they’ll lay up to five eggs in their nests.

It should also be noted that there are five subspecies of this bird in North America, so they might not all look exactly the same.

White-throated Sparrow

Although similar, these two birds are actually two different species, with one major difference.

The White-throated Sparrow has a very bright patch on its throat the White-crowned Sparrow is missing. They also have a yellow spot between the eyes, which the other bird doesn’t have.

White-throated Sparrow

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They can grow up to 7.5 inches, and have a 9-inch wingspan, weighing more than an ounce. This makes them a bit larger in every way.

They also don’t occupy the same area as the White-crowned Sparrow. They breed in the east, central and north-west Canada, as well as north and the north-east USA. We can spot them in the entire country, except for the western quarter. They haven’t been spotted in Mexico.

We can usually find them in forests where they primarily feed on seeds that they find on the ground – they also nest on the ground. Luckily for you, they are often attracted to bird feeders in yards, so you can fill one up and you’ll surely attract a few sparrows.

In the wild, you should look for them on the ground as you’re much more likely to spot them there than in the trees.

Interestingly, there are two variations of this bird – white-crowned and tan-crowned. What’s even more interesting is that they almost always pair with the opposite color morph when they breed. It’s also apparent that white-crowned birds are more aggressive than tan-crowned birds.

They also have different mating strategies, as white-striped males try finding additional mates by singing, while the tan-striped male stays with a single mate and shields his mate from other males, investing in parental care.


What kind of sparrow has a white stripe on its head?

We have the White-crowned Sparrow and the White-throated Sparrow. These two species are very similar and they both have a white stripe on their heads, while you can tell one from another by the yellow spot on the cheek, which is something only the White-throated Sparrow has.

Is a White-crowned Sparrow rare?

No, they're not rare at all and they're not considered endangered at all. They're quite common actually, and in the States, you can find them all around the country, except for the East Coast (even though they sometimes wander off there too). They were even spotted in Europe.

What is a striped head sparrow?

The striped-head sparrow is a colloquial name for the White-crowned Sparrow. It can also be referring to the White-throated Sparrow, given that the two species are very similar.

What bird looks like a sparrow but has a white head?

White-crowned Sparrows and the White-throated Sparrows are the only two species fitting this description perfectly. However, keep in mind that genetic defects are common in the animal kingdom, just like with humans, and it's entirely possible that you saw a genetically deficient bird.

To End

There are two species of bird that fit the description; the White-crowned Sparrow and the White-throated Sparrow. Despite the differences in size, with the latter being larger, the White-crowned Sparrow is also missing the yellow spot between its eyes.

Both of these birds have white and black stripes interchanging on the head, making it look like they have a crown of sorts. They both inhabit most of the North American continent, while we can’t find the White-crowned Sparrow on the East Coast.

Opposite of that, we can’t find the White-throated Sparrow on the West Coast.

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