White-throated Sparrow
(Zonotrichia albicollis)

Summary

Picture of bird
© Dan Busby
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The White-throated Sparrow is an abundant and widespread species in Canada ranging from British Columbia and Yukon Territory to Newfoundland and Labrador. The results from the Christmas Bird Count and Breeding Bird Survey indicate a decrease in the population since about 1970, but no major threats or conservation concerns are currently identified. With more than 95% of the global breeding population, Canada's responsibility for the species is very high. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.

Designations

Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaModerate DecreaseHighBelow Acceptable Level
 

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada> 50,000,000 adults
 

Distribution maps

 

Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery High

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between mid-May and early June and ends in late July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.
 

Conservation and management

This habitat generalist, preferring shrubby edges, early successional stages and openings, garners few conservation concerns in Canada. However, as a nocturnal migrant, the White-throated Sparrow is susceptible to collisions with lighted buildings. A review of mortality from window collisions (Machtans et al. 2013) found that sparrows were one of the most commonly killed birds, although it was not possible to determine species-specific mortality. The White-throated Sparrow was among the top three of 164 most common species killed by collisions with buildings in Toronto (M. Mesure, pers. comm. in Falls and Kopachena 2010).

 

Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NB -- Other
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NS -- Other
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, PE -- Other
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Quebec -- Stewardship
Boreal Hardwood TransitionBoreal Hardwood Transition, sub-region and priority type: Ontario and Manitoba -- Stewardship
Boreal Hardwood TransitionBoreal Hardwood Transition, sub-region and priority type: Quebec -- Other
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NL -- Other
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Ontario -- Other
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Quebec -- Other
Boreal Taiga PlainsBoreal Taiga Plains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Other
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Other
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Quebec -- Other
 

References