Sparrows with Red Heads [Meet the Tiny Redheads of the Bird World]

sparrows with read heads

Sparrows with red heads are a unique sight to behold in the avian world. Their vibrant plumage and adorable chirps make them a favorite among birdwatching enthusiasts.

Below we’ll explore ten different sparrows with red heads and discover fascinating facts and insights about each. Read on to learn more about these fantastic avian creatures.

Chestnut Sparrow (Passer eminibey)

The Chestnut Sparrow’s distinguishing feature is its bright red head, contrasting with its chestnut-colored plumage. 

Chesnut Sparrows are smaller birds measuring 4.1 to 4.5 inches long, weighing 0.03 lbs with a wingspan of 2.2 to 2.6 inches.

They’re small passerines in Asia and Southeast Europe. They live in shrubby habitats like dry grasslands, hillsides, and farmland. 

Their diet consists mainly of seeds and insects, but they also feed on berries and fruit during breeding.

Interesting Facts

  • The female Chestnut Sparrow has a duller crown than the male’s bright red.
  • Unlike most sparrows that build their nests in trees or bushes, the Chestnuts build their nest on the ground, typically in a grassy area or a small shrub.
  • Chestnut Sparrows are monogamous and may produce up to two broods per season.

Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus)

The Green-tailed Towhee is one of the large sparrows in the western United States and a few parts of Mexico. It’s distinctive for its bright red head and greenish-gray body. 

Green-tailed Towhee

An adult Green-tailed Towhee measures around 7.25 inches long and weighs 0.1 lbs with a wingspan of 10 inches.

Green-tailed Towhees prefer various habitats, including open woodlands, shrublands, and sagebrush. You can often see them foraging on the ground for insects, seeds, and berries.

Interesting Facts

  • Green-tailed Towhees are generally non-migratory, although some birds may move to lower elevations in the winter. 
  • These birds have beautiful songs consisting of high-pitched whistles and trills.
  • The female Green-tailed Towhee builds the nest and incubates the eggs while the male brings her food.

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)

The Chipping Sparrow is a small, grayish-brown passerine with a striking rusty-red cap. This bird is common in North America, Canada, Mexico, and other southern states.

Chipping Sparrow

They’re often confused with other small sparrows, but their distinctive red cap makes them easy to spot.

Chipping Sparrows are tiny, 4 to 5.7 inches long, 0.02 to 0.04 lbs, and have a 7 to 8.3 inches wingspan. 

You can often spot them in backyard feeders and parks. They mainly feed on seeds and insects and are known for their sweet, high-pitched song. 

Interesting Facts

  • The Chipping Sparrow gets its name from its “chipping” sound made while foraging for food.
  • These sparrows migrate in large flocks, sometimes in groups of up to several hundred individuals.

American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea)

The American Tree Sparrow is tiny with a distinctive rusty-red cap on its head. It breeds in the far northern areas of North America and spends winters across the United States. 

American Tree Sparrow

They measure about 5.5 to 6.5 inches long, 0.04 to 0.06 lbs in weight, and have a wingspan of 8.5 to 9.8 inches.

You can often spot them in shrubby areas or open fields foraging for seeds, berries, and insects. 

Interesting Facts

  • American Tree Sparrows have a beautiful melodic song and can be heard singing from their nests during the breeding season. 
  • Despite their name, American Tree Sparrows aren’t exclusively found in trees. You can also spot them on the ground or in low shrubs.
  • American Tree Sparrows use old nests built by other birds as their own.

Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)

The Swamp Sparrow is medium-sized with a distinctive reddish-brown head found in Canada, Eastern, Central, and North America.

Swamp Sparrow

The Swamp Sparrow’s plumage is a mix of gray, brown, and olive-green, with dark streaks on its chest and a reddish-brown spot above its eye.

Adult Swamp Sparrows are 4.7 to 5.9 inches long and 0.03 to 0.05 lbs in weight and have a wingspan of 7.1 to 7.5 inches.

It prefers wetland habitats, such as marshes, swamps, and bogs, where it can forage for insects, seeds, and other small invertebrates.

Interesting Facts

  • Swamp Sparrows form long-lasting pair bonds and aggressively defend their territory from other birds during the breeding season.
  • These sparrows are migratory, with populations in the eastern US and Canada migrating to Central and North America during winter.
  • They build their nests on the ground, hidden among dense vegetation.

Somali Sparrow (Passer castanopterus)

The Somali Sparrow is a small bird with an eye-catching reddish-brown crown, pale underparts, and black bibs. 

It’s a Somali native but also found in other eastern African parts like Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. 

They’re about 4 to 5 inches long, with a wingspan of 2.2 to 2.7 inches and a weight of 0.02 lbs.

These sparrows prefer dry thorn savannas, deserts, grasslands, coastal cliffs, and scrublands. Their diet consists of insects, seeds, and small fruits. 

Interesting Facts

  • The Somali Sparrow is the smallest of all sparrow species, with redheads.
  • They have a unique way of cooling down in the heat, where they flutter their wings while holding their beaks open.
  • They can mimic other birds’ calls and songs

Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)

The Spanish Sparrow is native to Europe and North Africa, with a small population in Western Asia.

Spanish Sparrow

They live in grassy areas with bushes and shrubs. Their diet consists mainly of seeds and insects like spiders and moths during the breeding season.

Unlike other sparrows, the Spanish Sparrow has a thicker bill that helps them crack open seeds. 

These birds are relatively larger than other sparrows in their respective regions. They’re 6 to 6.5 inches long, weighing 0.05 to 0.08 lbs, and have a wingspan of 9.1 to 10.2 inches.

Interesting Facts

  • The Spanish Sparrow was first described by the renowned naturalist Carl Linnaeus in the 1700s
  • These sparrows are colonial nesters, meaning they nest in large groups in a particular area. They create a unique buzzing sound you can hear from afar.
  • Spanish Sparrows are monogamous birds, meaning they mate for life

Eurasian Sparrow (Passer montanus)

The Eurasian Tree Sparrow is native to Europe and East Asia, including China and Korea. In Europe and Asia, they’re typically called tree sparrows.

Eurasian Sparrow

However, they were introduced to North America in the late 1800s and named the “Eurasian Tree Sparrows” or German Sparrows.” 

These sparrows live in various habitats, including woodlands, grasslands, and urban areas. Their diet includes seeds, insects, and fruits.

They’re about 5 to 5.5 inches long, weighing up to 0.06 lbs, and have a wingspan of up to 8.3 inches.

Interesting Facts

  • They often nest in man-made structures, such as buildings or nest boxes
  • Despite being introduced to North America, they’re yet to be widespread as their cousin, the House Sparrow.
  • In some Asian and European parts, these birds are considered pests due to their habit of nesting in urban areas and causing damage to buildings.

Cinnamon Ibon (Hypocryptadius cinnamomeus)

The Cinnamon Ibon is a small sparrow species in the Philippines across the Mindanao mountains. 

These sparrows inhabit mountainous regions, particularly in mossy and cloud forests. Their diet primarily consists of insects and seeds. 

These birds are easily recognizable due to their bright red heads and cinnamon-brown feathers. 

They are about 6 inches long, weighing 0.05 to 0.07 lbs, and have a wingspan of 4.8 to 7 inches.

Interesting Facts

  • The Cinnamon Ibon are famous sparrows in the Philippines, but their habitat is threatened by deforestation, making them a vulnerable species.
  • Despite being tiny and vulnerable, these sparrows have a solid and melodic chirping sound that carries throughout the forest.
  • The Cinnamon Ibon are social and can be observed flying in groups of more than five individuals.

Russet Sparrow (Passer rutilans)

The Russet Sparrow is a medium-sized bird with a red head found in East Asia and the Himalayas. 

Russet Sparrow

As its name suggests, this sparrow has a warm, russet-brown coloring on its wings and back.

This sparrow lives in open woodlands and forest edges with plenty of seeds and insects to feed on.

Interesting Facts

  • The female Russet Sparrow has more muted coloring, with a pale gray head and brown wings.
  • The Russet Sparrows are migratory, and you can spot them in China, Korea, and Japan during the breeding season and in Southeast Asia during the winter.

Male Russet Sparrows are highly territorial and aggressively defend their breeding territory from other males.

Comments are closed.