Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Cassin's Sparrow (Peucaea cassinii)


French: Bruant de Cassin German: Cassinammer Spanish: Chingolo de Cassin

Zonotrichia cassinii


, 1852,

near San Antonio, Texas, USA


Closely related to P. aestivalis and P. botterii, all having aerial song displays. Monotypic.


C & S USA (SW Wyoming and E & C Colorado E to W Nebraska, WC Kansas, and C Oklahoma, S to SE Arizona, New Mexico and S Texas) and N Mexico (S to NC Sonora, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí and SE Tamaulipas). Non-breeding SW USA (SE Arizona, S New Mexico, W Texas) S in Mexico to N Nayarit, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí and Guanajuato, rarely further south.

Descriptive notes

13–15 cm; 14–23·5 g. A medium-sized sparrow with a relatively small bill and rounded tail. Head is streaked with grey and dark brown, indistinct... read more


Song, often in flight, also at night, a clear, usually descending sweet liquid trill, followed by 2... read more


Arid grassland with scattered bushes, desert scrub and tropical thorn-scrub, with grass, and in... read more

Food and feeding

During nesting period feeds principally on insects, especially grasshoppers (Orthoptera), Lepidoptera larvae, bugs (Hemiptera), ants, wasps... read more


Timing not well understood: males start to sing after arrival in spring (in Kansas in late Apr); in SW New Mexico and SE Arizona (where... read more


Present all year in S part of range, but ringing studies indicate that breeding and non-breeding... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common or very common in appropriate habitat. Breeds in some years, rarely, in S California E of the Sierra. Populations in Great Plains may... read more

Recommended citation

Rising, J. (2020). Cassin's Sparrow (Peucaea cassinii). 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 29 February 2020).