Description: A small, plump bird with a flat head and a short, dark tail. It has a buffy breast and sides without the streaking common in sparrows. Other markings include pale stripe across center of crown; faint yellow lore; tawny ear patch and rufous scapulars. Length: 5 inches.
Habitat: Grassland, cultivated fields, palmetto scrub, old fields; nests and feeds on the ground.
Diet: Gleans insects and seeds.
Displays: In courtship, male performs low, fluttering flight, sometimes while singing. Female will answer his song with a trill; male may chase female while singing. To protect young, females will feign wing injury during short flight by spreading wings and tail.
Nest: Depression in ground, well concealed by grass and shrubs; made of dried grasses and lined with fine materials.
Eggs: Cream-colored with reddish-brown markings, occasionally wreathed. Length: 0.8 inches.
Call: Song is a series of buzzes and squeaky notes; also sings two high chip notes followed by a brief buzzing sound.
Breeding bird atlas: To report bird breeding activity in your neighborhood, or to get information on the breeding bird atlas, call Sea and Sage Audubon Society members Sylvia Gallagher, (714) 962-8990, or Nancy Kenyon, (714) 786-3160.