Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Belding's Sparrow (Passerculus guttatus)


French: Bruant de Belding German: Strichelbrustammer Spanish: Chingolo de Belding

Passerculus guttatus


, 1867,

San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico


Traditionally treated as conspecific with P. sandwichensis and P. rostratus, and often also with P. sanctorum, but all differ in morphology and plumage and, to some extent, in ecology; separation at species level supported by recent genetic findings. Two additional proposed races from Baja California: anulus, described from Scammon’s Lagoon (Guerrero Negro), is treated as a synonym of beldingi, and magdalenae, from North Estero (in Bahía Magdalena), is synonymized with nominate. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. g. beldingi Ridgway, 1885 – extreme SW USA (coastal S California S from Santa Barbara, possibly from San Luis Obispo County) S in NW Mexico (Baja California), including Todos Santos I, to Laguna de Ojo Liebre.
  • P. g. guttatus Lawrence, 1867 – S Baja California from Laguna San Ignacio S to Bahía Magdalena; non-breeding S to Cabo San Lucas.
  • Descriptive notes

    11–14 cm; 15·5–22·5 g. Medium-sized sparrow, with relatively large bill. Nominate race is olive-grey above, with lemon-yellow supercilium fading... read more


    Primary song a highly variable, rather unmusical series of high-pitched chips and buzzes, often a... read more


    Coastal saltmarshes with pickleweed (Salicornia), Allenrolfea, sea... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on a variety of decapods, especially fiddler crabs (Uca), also isopods and amphipods, as well as on probable Salicornia... read more


    Season mid-Feb to early Jun, mostly Apr and early May, and by mid-May most first broods have hatched; probably generally double-brooded.... read more


    Apparently sedentary. Some post-breeding movement to nearby beach strand; perhaps a certain amount... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common. Has suffered much loss of habitat to residential and recreational development, particularly in California, where now listed as a... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rising, J. (2020). Belding's Sparrow (Passerculus guttatus). 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 18 February 2020).