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National Bird Project - Vote for Canada's National Bird
National Bird Project - Vote for Canada's National Bird


Harris's sparrow (Zonotrichia querula)

Votes: 36

Harris's sparrow
Photo illustration: Canadian Geographic; Photo: Richard Crossley / Wikicommons

This is the only songbird that breeds exclusively in Canada, nesting in the north-central region of the country where boreal forest meets tundra, but wintering in the central United States. Large sparrows with distinct black bibs, foreheads and crowns, they also have pink bills, brown (black-streaked) upperparts, a pair of white wingbars and white (brown-streaked) underparts.

(Both Sexes)
Weight 26-49 g
Length 17-20 cm
Wingspan 27 cm
Harris's sparrow range map
Range map courtesy iBird for Windows
Click to enlarge

Vote for the Harris's sparrow for Canada’s National Bird


Comments and essays appear in the language in which they were submitted

As this is, apparently, the only species that breeds exclusively in Canada the choice is obvious

I like to think that as Canadians we are unique. Accordingly our bird should be unique to Canada . This bird knows our lands and sings our songs because it has chosen no other county as its own . We should honor that commitment, and value its heritage . Let the generations that follow know that this bird is of our country and we should take pride in its uniqueness to us.

Harris' Sparrow is the only bird that breeds exclusively in Canada.

Harris's Sparrow is clearly the number one bird for Canada based on the fact that it is only songbird breeding exclusively in Canada. But I do think it should be Harris' Sparrow.

Canada has only three endemic bird species, one of which is extinct. Of the two remaining, only the little Harris' Sparrow has made the voting list. While often overlooked, small birds such as sparrows make a huge impact on the environments in which they live. Like these little sparrows, Canada has an overlooked but large impact on the global community, and is well-represented by this sweet bird.

Quite a few years ago we had a Harris's sparrow feeding at a bird feeder in the back yard of our farm in Oliver (South Okanagan BC). It stayed around for 3 days and we notified Dick Cannings (well know ornithologist) who passed the message on. He and several others arrived and were able to take photos as the bird cooperated nicely!

Harris' Sparrow is a true Canadian. It is the only song bird that breeds only in Canada.

The Harris's Sparrow is the ONLY bird that breeds exclusively in Canada, and it's a fine looking bird to boot.

The one bird that nests exclusively in Canada

Why the Sparrow?
The Sparrow is a very tough litle bird, yet gentle and friendly; which I believe is a characteristic of most Canadians.
Furthermore it is the only bird that you are most like to see anywhere in Canada; even during the the dead of Winter.

A true national bird should be one that is recognized and available in the enrire country. With this in mind the SPARROW truelly is the only choice.


The Harris's sparrow is Canada's only endemic breeder. Therefore, all Harris's Sparrows are Canadian "citizens", unlike any other bird in the world. The fact that it heads to the US for the winter is simply a survival mechanism. A lot of human Canadian citizens do the same thing! Occasionally it will spend the winter in Ontario. We had the pleasure of hosting one at our feeders in Prince Edward County over the Christmas/New Year's 2013/2014 season.

Zoonotrichia querula (Emberizidae) or Harris's Sparrow is an endemic Canadian bird species. This makes it a strong consideration to be Canada's National Bird, unlike all the others you have in your list that are not exclusive to Canada, not one.

When you consider all of Canada, what bird is most commonly known? Answer: The sparrow. The sparrow helps to keep properties clean from cantankerous pings that destroy in acidic proportions.

Being a finch, it sings a pretty song, yet will come and sit close, as you enjoy your favourite lunch. Please don't feed it bread. Bread expands in the stomach, and while this is easy for us as humans to digest, the same is not true of the sparrow.

Consider the sparrow.

The Harris's sparrow is the only bird that breeds exclusively in Canada. This is my unanimous choice, and I'm actually surprised that there aren't more votes for this species.

Harris's sparrow may be one the very few, if not the only, endemic species of bird to Canada.

I voted for the Harris's sparrow because it's the only species whose entire breeding range is in Canada.

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