How to Identify Sparrows by Markings
- Head: Is the head smooth and flat, or does it have a small crest? Are there stripes or markings on the crown, eyebrow, cheek, chin or throat? Does the bird have a noticeable eye ring?
- Tail: Is the tail long or short? Are there distinguishable markings on the tail?
- Underparts: Does the birds chest have any markings? Are they in a distinguishable pattern or random?
- Wings: Is there barring or other distinguishable markings on the wings? If barring is present, is it narrow or wide?
- Bill: Note the size of the bill in relation to the birds head. Notice whether the color of the bill and if the top and bottom have the same color.
Other Ways to Identify Sparrows
- Range and Habitat: Each sparrow has a habitat that it prefers, noting habitat can help to narrow down the choices.
- Song: If you are not an expert birder, try to remember the song that you hear and listen to recordings to match up what you heard to identify the bird. Cornell, and iTunes both have a fairly comprehensive library of bird sounds. There are also a few good apps for your smart phone if you search around.
- Behavior: Are the birds solitary or moving in flocks? Are they shy or fairly open about interaction with you as the birdwatcher? This is another key that can help to I.D. the bird.