Red-breasted Sparrow

There’s no such thing as a Red-breasted Sparrow. There is, however, a female Eastern Towhee, which when you see it for the first time looks like nothing so much as a Red-Breasted Sparrow. However, if you look in your field guide for “Red-Breasted Sparrow” you won’t find it. If you keep looking a few pages past the sparrows, you’ll normally find the towhees though. But even that may not be enough.

To make matters even more confusing for the novice, the female Eastern Towhee does not in fact have a red breast. It has red flanks. However when you see it in the field, it’s often foraging on the ground so the breast is hidden. Consequently it ends up looking like a cross between an American Robin and a sparrow. Furthermore, the male Eastern Towhee doesn’t really look like a red-breasted sparrow at all, and some of the more basic field guides only show the male. So if you didn’t find Eastern Towhee in your field guide, or didn’t make the connection between the one in the book and the one in the field, you can now Google for “red-breasted sparrow” and find this page. How cool is that?

6 Responses to “Red-breasted Sparrow”

  1. Victor Bobier Says:

    Then what is this bird? Besides a bird that likes to hang out in My Carports eves and then leave poop on My car. It’s found in the High Desert of Southern California in and around Yermo CA and is being a general pest, So I’m planning on denying the birds landing rights under My Carports Eves with some bird spikes. I’d rather It go back to the Trees.

  2. Wayne Allerheiligen Says:

    I’m in Kansas City. Looking at two birds in the feeder, maybe24 inches from my eyes and one of them is a regular sparrow and the other looks exactly like the sparrow but with a lot of red on it’s head, breast, and on it’s back just above the tail feathers. Other than those spots, it is the same color as it’s friend the sparrow.

  3. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:

    Wayne, it sounds like you’re looking at a male House Finch.

  4. Wayne Allerheiligen Says:

    Thank you Rusty… I’ll check it out.

  5. Wayne Allerheiligen Says:

    A male House Finch it is. Glad I found this sight. And thank you Elliotte.

  6. Earnie Pyle Says:

    I have red breasted ‘sparrows’ in my neighborhood in SE New Mexico. Bright red breast, look nothing like the pictures I’ve seen of the red Finches. Other than the red breast, they look exactly like the sparrows they hang out with. I’ll try to get a picture to post.

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