New York Natural Heritage Program
Clay-colored Sparrow
Spizella pallida (Swainson, 1832)

Habitat [-]
In New York, breeding Clay-colored Sparrows are typically found in abandoned agricultural land that has been invaded by shrubs and saplings, young conifer plantations, and regenerating clear-cuts (Carroll and Andrle 1988, McGowan and Corwin 2008). Areas with scattered shrubs or small trees interspersed with grassy or weedy openings seem to be preferred. In western parts of the state, young conifer tree plantations are used more often. To the north, sandy pine barrens habitat is more likely to be occupied by breeding birds. Idle or lightly grazed grasslands with low shrubs are used in other parts of the state.

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • Brushy cleared land
    A former forest, woodland, or shrubland that has been clearcut or cleared by brush-hog. The cut stumps of trees and shrubs are evident and usually common. There may be a lot of woody debris such as branches and slashings from trees that were logged. Vegetation is patchy, with scattered herbs, shrubs, and tree saplings.
  • Calcareous pavement barrens
    A savanna community that occurs on nearly level outcrops of calcareous bedrock (limestone or dolomite). The community consists of a mosaic of shrub-savanna, grass-savanna, and rock outcrop vegetation.
  • Successional old field
    A meadow dominated by forbs and grasses that occurs on sites that have been cleared and plowed (for farming or development), and then abandoned or only occasionally mowed.
  • Successional shrubland
    A shrubland that occurs on sites that have been cleared (for farming, logging, development, etc.) or otherwise disturbed. This community has at least 50% cover of shrubs.

Associated Species [-]
  • Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)