Santa Barbara Song sparrow (Melospiza melodia graminea)
Song Sparrows are medium-sized and fairly bulky with a rounded head. Their bill is short and stout, tail long and rounded, and wings broad. Song Sparrows are streaky and brown, with thick streaks on a white chest and flanks. On a closer look, the head is a mix of warm red-brown and slaty-gray. However, these shades as well as the amount of streaking, vary extensively across North America.
References cited in Species Profile
- Aldrich, J. W. 1984. Ecogeographical variation in size and proportions of Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia). Ornithol. Monog. 35:1-134.
- Arcese, Peter, Mark K. Sogge, Amy B. Marr and Michael A. Patten. 2002. Song Sparrow (Melospizamelodia), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/704
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2015. Song Sparrow. All About Birds. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Song_Sparrow/id
- Davis, A. and P. Arcese. 1999. An examination of migration in Song Sparrow using banding recovery data. N. Am. Bird-bander 24:124-128.
- Marshall, J. T., Jr. 1948. Ecologic races of Song Sparrows in the San Francisco Bay region. Part I. Habitat and abundance. Condor 50:193-215.
- National Park Service. 2015. Channel Islands Song Sparrow. U.S. Department of the Interior. http://www.nps.gov/chis/learn/nature/song-sparrow.htm
- Nice, M. M. 1937. Studies in the life history of the Song Sparrow, Pt. I. Trans. Linn. Soc. N.Y. 4:1-247.
- Partners in Flight. 2012. Species assessment database. http://rmbo.org/pifassessment/Database.aspx
- Sauer, J. R., Hines, J. E., and Fallon, J. 2005. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, results and analysis 1966-2004, version 2005.2. USGS Patuxent Wildl. Res. Ctr., Laurel, MD. Available at www.mbr-pwrc. usgs.gov/bbs/bbs.html
- Shuford, W. D. 1993. The Marin County Breeding Bird Atlas: A Distributional and Natural History of Coastal California Birds. California Avifauna Series 1. Bushtit Books, Bolinas, CA.
- Shuford, W. D., and Gardali, T., editors. 2008. California Bird Species of Special Concern: A ranked assessment of species, subspecies, and distinct populations of birds of immediate conservation concern in California.
- Sogge, M. K., and van Riper, C., III. 1988. Breeding biology and population dynamics of the San Miguel Island Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia micronyx). Tech. Rep. 26, Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, Univ. Calif., Davis.
- USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2012. North American Breeding Bird Survey 1966 - 2010 analysis. http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/specl10.html
- States/US Territories in which the Santa Barbara Song sparrow, is known to or is believed to occur: California
- US Counties in which the Santa Barbara Song sparrow, is known to or is believed to occur: View All
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed 06/04/1973 California/Nevada Region (Region 8)
» Federal Register Documents
Date Citation Page Title 08/09/1982 47 FR 34436 34437 Proposed Delisting of Santa Barbara Song Sparrow 01/06/1989 54 FR 554 579 ETWP; Animal Notice of Review; 54 FR 554 579 10/12/1983 48 FR 46336 46337 Removal of Santa Barbara Song Sparrow from List of End. Species; 48 FR 46336-46337 06/04/1973 38 FR 14678 Amendments to List of Endangered Fish and Wildlife; 37 FR 14678
Date Citation Page Title Document Type 10/12/1983 48 FR 46336 46337 Removal of Santa Barbara Song Sparrow from List of End. Species; 48 FR 46336-46337
- Final Delisting, Extinct
08/09/1982 47 FR 34436 34437 Proposed Delisting of Santa Barbara Song Sparrow
- Proposed Delisting, Extinct
» Critical Habitat
No critical habitat rules have been published for the Santa Barbara Song sparrow.
» Conservation Plans
No conservation plans have been created for Santa Barbara Song sparrow.
» Life History
The basic requirements of the Channel Island Song Sparrow are very similar to those described for mainland Song Sparrows: moderately dense scrubby vegetation for nesting, escape cover, and foraging; a source of standing or running water or, in dry scrub habitats, constant moisture from fog or dew; adequate light; and exposed ground or leaf litter for foraging. Song sparrows at San Miguel construct compact, open nest bowls of twigs, herbs, parts of shrubs, weed stems, grass stems, and dry leaves, lining them with fine grasses. The nest is typically constructed deep within the nest plant, where they are concealed from island fox predation. This subspecies also tends to build heavier nests and locate them on the leeward side of a shrub due to wind.
The year-round diet of song sparrows in California is composed of 21% insects and 79% plant. Insects include beetles, caterpillars, bees, ants and wasps, true bugs, and flies. These are an important component of their diet in the spring, when animal prey make up 71% of overall diet versus 3% in September. The song sparrow also eats crustaceans and mollusks on the coast.
Movement / Home Range
Referred to as the Channel Island or Santa Barbara Song Sparrow, graminea is a California endemic subspecies. It is restricted to San Miguel and Santa Rosa islands, and formerly to Santa Barbara and San Clemente Islands.
Song Sparrows have vanished from two islands off Southern California, the result of more frequent fires and introduced hares altering the sparrows' habitat. Data is inadequate for assessing trends. For more information on this species, refer to the following resource:
- Shuford, W. D., and Gardali, T., editors. 2008. California Bird Species of Special Concern: A ranked assessment of species, subspecies, and distinct populations of birds of immediate conservation concern in California. https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=10504&inline
» Other Resources
NatureServe Explorer Species Reports -- NatureServe Explorer is a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals and ecological communtities of the U.S and Canada. NatureServe Explorer provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe Explorer is a product of NatureServe in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network.
ITIS Reports -- ITIS (the Integrated Taxonomic Information System) is a source for authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.
FWS Digital Media Library -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library is a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video.