Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

American Tree Sparrow (Passerella arborea)


French: Bruant hudsonien German: Baumammer Spanish: Chingolo arbóreo

Fringilla arborea

A. Wilson

, 1810,

eastern Pennsylvania = Philadelphia, USA


Traditionally placed in genus Spizella, which it resembles. Recent molecular studies suggest that either this species is best placed in present genus, being sister to the four other members, or alternatively because of their long-independent histories it is afforded a new genus, Spizelloides#R#R. Geographical variation weakly marked. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. a. ochracea (Brewster, 1882) – Alaska and in W Canada from N Yukon and NW Northwest Territories S to NW British Columbia and NC Alberta; winters in S Canada (W Saskatchewan) and N & W USA from South Dakota and N Iowa S to NE California, W & N Nevada, N Arizona, C New Mexico and C Texas.
  • P. a. arborea (A. Wilson, 1810) – NC & E Canada from C & E Northwest Territories and W Nunavut E to Labrador, S to N Saskatchewan, N Manitoba, N Ontario and C Quebec; winters in E USA (from Minnesota, Wisconsin and N Michigan S to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia) and SE Canada (S from S Ontario and SW Quebec, E to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia).
  • Descriptive notes

    13·5–14·5 cm; 12·6–27·7 g. A slim sparrow with fairly long, notched tail. Nominate race has crown rusty, rusty post­ocular stripe... read more


    Song, in summer often delivered at night, is a clear, sweet and musical “tsee tsee-tsi tsi... read more


    Breeds in dwarf spruce (Picea) and birch (Betula) habitat at the edge of the tree... read more

    Food and feeding

    In summer, consumes variety of arthropods and also seeds of alder (Alnus), redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus) and... read more


    Nest-building begins early to middle Jun, egg-laying mid-Jun to early Jul, fledglings late Jun through early Aug; generally single-brooded... read more


    Migratory; entire population migrates S, males wintering farther N than females. Migratory routes... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Often common or very common in appropriate habitat throughout most of range. Estimated global population has been put at 10,000,000... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rising, J. (2020). American Tree Sparrow (Passerella arborea). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 22 February 2020).