Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, contests and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Learn to differentiate finches and sparrows

finches and sparrows
LOOK CLOSER: To determine whether you’re viewing a female House Finch (top) or a Song Sparrow (bottom), consider differences in plumage colors, leg colors, and behaviors, such as how high the bird perches or its flight style. Art by David Allen Sibley
Use these tips to identify two of the most prominent groups of streaky brown birds.
To access this content, you must purchase BirdWatching Membership.

Read our newsletter!

Sign up for our free e-newsletter to receive news, photos of birds, attracting and ID tips, and more delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up for Free
David Sibley

David Sibley

David Sibley writes the column “ID Toolkit” in every issue of BirdWatching. He published the Sibley Guide to Birds in 2000, the Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior in 2001, and Sibley’s Birding Basics in 2002. He is also the author of the Sibley Guide to Trees (2009), the Sibley Guide to Birds-Second Edition (2014), guides to birds of eastern and western North America (2016), and What It’s Like to Be a Bird (2020). He is the recipient of the American Birding Association’s Roger Tory Peterson Award for lifetime achievement in promoting the cause of birding and a recognition award from the National Wildlife Refuge System for his support of bird conservation.

David Sibley on social media