About ninety-two percent of what the white-crowned sparrow consumes is plant matter (Chilton et al. 1995). The small tough bill of this species makes seeds, buds, grass, and fruit ideal constituents of its diet. During spring, however, Zoneotrichia leucophrys adjusts its diet and begins eating mainly insects and seeds. By mainly ground feeding, this bird relies on dense shrubbery to provide adequate coverage from potential predators. It has been shown that feeding activity actually decreases with lack of proper coverage (Chilton et al. 1995). The white-crowned sparrow also does not store food, nor does it have a functional crop - possibly explaining why it focuses its most intense feeding times early in the morning, and again late at night.
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