Swamp Sparrow, Melospiza georgiana


Swamp Sparrow
This was my first photo of a Swamp Sparrow, which are rare but found every winter in my area; the species had been a years-long nemesis for me. Not the greatest image, partly obscured as the bird is, but I'll take it for now. Swamp Sparrows are most likely to be confused with their cousins in the genus Melospiza, the omnipresent Song Sparrow, and the Lincoln's Sparrow, the latter fairly common in winter in the SF Bay Area, but skittish and less often seen than our other regulars. All three have rufous in the wings, a narrow central crown stripe, and a well-demarcated white throat. Both Song and Lincoln's have distinctive strong streaking on the breast, where Swamp has blurry streaks; Swamp has yellow at the base of the bill where the other two have all-gray bills.