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It is found mainly in shrubby areas, from tundra to desert. It is mainly seen during the migration period (spring and autumn) as it breeds further north.
The cap is white, hence its name, and crossed by two black bands. The head and belly are gray, the upper back has whitish stripes, the lower back and rump are more olive-brown. The female and the male are identical, the juveniles do not yet have the white crown. It measures about 18 centimeters, has a wingspan of 22 cm and weighs up to 28 grams, which is about the weight of a shallot! It lives to be 13 years old.
This bird feeds mainly on plants, whether seeds, fruits or buds. They sometimes eat insects, especially in Spring. White-crowned sparrows do not land in their nest to prevent predators from finding it. They will land nearby and walk to the nest. They are quite solitary birds. Thus, the males are very territorial and return to the same breeding site year after year. The White-crowned Sparrow scrapes the leaf litter to feed most of the time.
Unlike most birds, the male does not court the female, it is she who must seduce him!
Young males learn to sing by listening to the general song of their environment, not just their father.
A White-crowned Sparrow has already traveled 480 km in one night!