Biology:American sparrow

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American sparrow
White-crowned sparrow
Zonotrichia leucophrys
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Superfamily: Emberizoidea
Family: Passerellidae
Cabanis, 1851

American sparrows are a group of mainly New World passerine birds, forming the family Passerellidae. American sparrows are seed-eating birds with conical bills, brown or gray in color, and many species have distinctive head patterns.

Although they share the name sparrow, American sparrows are more closely related to Old World buntings than they are to the Old World sparrows (family Passeridae).[1][2] American sparrows are also similar in both appearance and habit to finches, with which they sometimes used to be classified.




























Phylogeny based on a 2016 study by Bryson and colleagues.[3][lower-alpha 1]

The genera now assigned to the family Passerellidae were previously included with the buntings in the family Emberizidae. A phylogenetic analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences published in 2015 found that the Passerellidae formed a monophyletic group that had an uncertain relationship to the Emberizidae.[4] Emberizidae was therefore split and the family Passerellidae resurrected.[5][6] It had originally been introduced, as the subfamily Passerellinae, by the German ornithologist Jean Cabanis in 1851.[7]

The International Ornithological Congress (IOC) recognizes these 136 species in the family, distributed among 27 genera in the following sequence.[5] One extinct species, the Bermuda towhee, is included. The North American and South American classification committees of the American Ornithological Society (AOS) do not recognize all of these species, use some different common names, and assign other species to different genera. The AOS also organizes the list in a different sequence.[8][9]

Genus Calamospiza

Genus Passerella

Genus Melospiza

Genus Zonotrichia

Genus Junco

Genus Passerculus

Genus Ammodramus

Genus Xenospiza

  • Sierra Madre sparrow, Xenospiza baileyi

Genus Spizelloides

Genus Spizella

Genus Pooecetes

Genus Chondestes

Genus Amphispiza

Genus Artemisiospiza

Genus Rhynchospiza

Genus Peucaea

Genus Aimophila

Genus Torreornis

Genus Oriturus

Genus Pipilo

Genus Melozone

Genus Arremonops

Genus Arremon

Genus Pezopetes

Genus Atlapetes

Genus Oreothraupis

Genus Chlorospingus


  1. Species in three monotypic genera were not sampled in the study: the Sierra Madre sparrow (Xenospiza baileyi), the Zapata sparrow (Torreornis inexpectata) and the tanager finch (Oreothraupis arremonops)[3]


  1. Allende, Luis M.; Rubio, Isabel; Ruíz-del-Valle, Valentin; Guillén, Jesus; Martínez-Laso, Jorge; Lowy, Ernesto; Varela, Pilar; Zamora, Jorge et al. (2001). "The Old World sparrows (genus Passer) phylogeography and their relative abundance of nuclear mtDNA pseudogenes". Journal of Molecular Evolution 53 (2): 144–154. doi:10.1007/s002390010202. PMID 11479685. Bibcode2001JMolE..53..144A. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. 
  2. Arnaiz-Villena, A; Gómez-Prieto P; Ruiz-de-Valle V (2009). "Phylogeography of finches and sparrows". Animal Genetics. Nova Science Publishers. ISBN 978-1-60741-844-3. Retrieved 2014-12-05. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bryson, R.W.; Faircloth, B.C.; Tsai, W.L.E.; McCormack, J.E.; Klicka, J. (2016). "Target enrichment of thousands of ultraconserved elements sheds new light on early relationships within New World sparrows (Aves: Passerellidae)". The Auk 133 (3): 451-458. doi:10.1642/AUK-16-26.1. 
  4. Barker, F.K.; Burns, K.J.; Klicka, J.; Lanyon, S.M.; Lovette, I.J. (2015). "New insights into New World biogeography: An integrated view from the phylogeny of blackbirds, cardinals, sparrows, tanagers, warblers, and allies". Auk 132 (2): 333-348. doi:10.1642/AUK-14-110.1. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds (2020). "New World Sparrows, Bush Tanagers". IOC World Bird List Version 10.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 29 May 2020. 
  6. Chesser, R. Terry; Burns, Kevin J.; Cicero, Carla; Dunn, John L.; Kratter, Andrew W; Lovette, Irby J; Rasmussen, Pamela C.; Remsen, J.V. Jr et al. (2017). "Fifty-eighth supplement to the American Ornithological Society's Check-list of North American Birds". Auk 134 (3): 751-773. doi:10.1642/AUK-17-72.1. 
  7. Cabanis, Jean (1850–1851) (in German, Latin). Museum Heineanum : Verzeichniss der ornithologischen Sammlung des Oberamtmann Ferdinand Heine, auf Gut St. Burchard vor Halberstadt. Volume 1. Halbertstadt: R. Frantz. p. 131. 
  8. "Check-list of North and Middle American Birds". American Ornithological Society. July 2019. 
  9. Remsen, J. V., Jr., J. I. Areta, E. Bonaccorso, S. Claramunt, A. Jaramillo, J. F. Pacheco, C. Ribas, M. B. Robbins, F. G. Stiles, D. F. Stotz, and K. J. Zimmer. Version 11 February 2020. A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithological Society. retrieved February 12, 2020

External links

Wikidata ☰ Q1425706 entry