17 Amaze-wing Facts About The Black Sparrow Bird For Kids

Learn some interesting black sparrow bird facts on our website.

The black sparrow bird (Amphispiza bilineata), also known as a black-throated sparrow and sometimes desert sparrow, is a new world sparrow of the family Paserellidae. The black-throated sparrow is the only sparrow in the Amphispiza genus and is migratory. These New World species are seed-eating and have conical bills, gray or brown colored with distinctive head patterns.  The sparrows of this family are close relatives to the Old World buntings than of the Old World sparrows. They were previously classified under finches as these sparrows have similar habits and appearances. There are around 30 genera in this family, consisting of 138 bird species. The black-throated sparrow is a black and white sparrow-sized bird. Jean Cabanis, a German ornithologist, first classified the new world sparrows under the Passerellinae subfamily. These sparrows belong to the superfamily Emberizoidea, which is also called the New World nine-primaried oscines consists mostly of endemic species of the New World.

If these facts about the black sparrow bird were interesting, then do read these Chipping Sparrow facts and Vesper sparrow facts on Kidadl.

Black Sparrow Bird

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Fruits, green shoots, berries, seeds, and insects

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3-4 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.025-0.031 lb (11-15 g)

How long are they?

Body length -4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)

Wingspan - 7.7 in (19.5 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Black, dark brown, pale gray, and white

Skin Type


What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Hot and dry areas, desert, creosote bush, scrub vegetation, trees, and desert uplands


North America





Scientific Name

Amphispiza bilineata





Black Sparrow Bird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a black sparrow bird?

Black-throated sparrows (Amphispiza bilineata) are birds of North America that belong to the order Passeriformes and phylum Chordata. These birds are partly migratory. These sparrows hop on the ground looking to eat insects and seeds. These North American sparrows are scattered most of the time with Brewer's sparrow and white-crowned sparrow. These birds need to derive water from the food sources in some seasons as they do not have access to water. Also, they are quite tolerant to heat which helps them survive in the desert.

What class of animal does a black sparrow bird belong to?

The black-throated sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata) belongs to the Aves class of animals.

How many black sparrow birds are there in the world?

The population of black-throated sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata) has been estimated to be around 50 million breeding individuals.

Where does a black sparrow bird live?

The black-throated sparrow breeds in the central and southwestern regions of North America and this range of habitat extends to northern-central mainland Mexico. This summer range of habitat is larger than the winter range. This North American bird migrates to the southern United States deserts. However, this migration is variable.

What is a black sparrow bird's habitat?

The black-throated sparrow can be found in isolated and sparse desert surroundings. The habitat range of the black-throated sparrow includes hot, desert, creosote bush, trees that are 3-10 ft (0.9-3 m) tall, tree fibers, and desert uplands. This bird also prefers a range of habitats around scrub vegetation and desert hillsides.

Who do black sparrow birds live with?

The black-throated sparrows live in flocks. They form a loose flock in winter on open fields.

How long does a black sparrow bird live?

The black-throated sparrow lives up to six years.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding habitat range of these sparrows extends from central Oregon through southwest Wyoming, northeast California, and southeast colorado extending southward to New Mexico and central Arizona. The breeding season of these sparrows is summer to spring. The song and pair formation in California begins in February. The preparation for building the nests is based on the timing of the rains and starts in march extends till mid-August. They build the nest between April-June and conceal it in bushes and shrubs under trees. Data collected from Arizona and south New Mexico state that females mostly place their nests on the northern or eastern side of shrubs for adequate sunshine and shade.  Adult females build a nest that is cup-shaped close to the ground. The nest might be used by these species for the next broods. As per a record in Idaho, the nest was within 0.8-1.4 ft (25-45 cm) from the ground level found in large sagebrush plants. The nests are lined with cow hair, feathers, plant fibers, wool, and rabbit fur. The female lays three to four bluish-white eggs in two broods. The age of the young when they leave home and the incubation period has yet to be recorded. The diameter of the eggs is between 0.68-0.54 in (13.8-17.3 mm). Both the males and females take turns to feed their young ones. The males sing to warn any intruders. They are more tolerant towards each other when the breeding season is over and also form a small group of foraging flocks.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the black-throated sparrows is the Least Concern. However, as per the Partners in Flight report, there has been up to a 42% decline in the population of these sparrows from 1970 to 2014.

Black Sparrow Bird Fun Facts

What do black sparrow birds look like?

The black-throated sparrows have a black coat and a black throat. The adults have conical beaks for eating seeds and a round head. They have a black and white pattern on their heads. Their wings, back, and crown is gray and the bellies are white. They have a long black tail with white patches on their outer feathers. The young ones have more of brown color with little adult patterns. There are facial stripes on the young ones and they lack a black throat instead they have black streaks.  

The black-throated sparrows represent happiness, love, and being free.

How cute are they?

Even though they are either gray or black, the black-throated sparrows are an adorable sparrow species.

How do they communicate?

The black-throated sparrow communicates using tactile, acoustics, visuals, and chemicals. Their call is bell-like and high-toned. It is a simple song of mechanical tinkling.

How big is a black sparrow bird?

The size range of these birds is between 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm) in length with a wingspan of 7.7 in (19.5 cm). The males are slightly bigger than the females.

How fast can a black sparrow bird fly?

The exact flight speed of the black-throated sparrow is not yet known. However, the average flight of sparrows is 24-31 mph (38.6-49.8 kph).

How much does a black sparrow bird weigh?

The weight range of these North American birds is between 0.025-0.031 lb (11-15 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name given to the adult female and male black-throated sparrows.

What would you call a baby black sparrow bird?

There is no specific name given to these young species. The immature burds are referred to as young ones.

What do they eat?

The diet of these North American birds is omnivorous. During the breeding season, the adults eat insects and they feed on seeds in the winter season. The usual diet includes fruits, green shoots, seeds, and insects. The diet of these species can also include herbs and grasses. They ingest gravel to aid their digestion. These species run along the ground to feed on insects. In the breeding season, they eat insects as it allows them to gain moisture and they don't have to entirely depend on water sources for hydration. These species will take advantage of spring water if available. The young ones can feed on insects and can be given grasshopper abdomen in captivity.

Are they dangerous?

These North American birds are not dangerous to human beings in any way.

Would they make a good pet?

These North American birds would not make good pets. These birds need desert areas to nest and for food.

Did you know...

Unlike the black-throated sparrow, the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) especially the male species are dark and brightly colored. The house sparrow sings using chirrup or two-parted cheep.

Although the female mostly broods, both male and female take part in taking care of the young ones.

The nest-building process can be initiated by any unbred male sparrows. The males start building the nest and also display it to the male.

Some predators of the black-throated sparrows are lynx, coyotes, and snakes. These species have developed a technique called 'freeze' when there are intruders near their nest.

There have been reports of these birds being a host of cowbirds.

These birds add positive characteristics to the biodiversity of the desert.

The black-throated sparrows represent happiness, love, and being free.

What is special about sparrow birds?

These North American birds are very small species. These birds can swim fast in order to escape predators even though they do not belong to the waterbird species.

Do black sparrow birds migrate?

The black-throated sparrows do migrate and the migration is variable. The northern limit of the breeding regions of these species every year. Their winter range includes Mexico and the southwest United States.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our eastern kingbird facts or western kingbird facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring on one of our free printable sparrow coloring pages.



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