Require grass, bareground for foraging, dense shrubs or small conifers for roosting and nest cover, water, and tall coniferous trees on periphery of territory (DeWolfe and DeWolfe 1962). In Alaska, sparrow density often increases with increasing shrub cover (Cotter and Andres 2000). Subspecies gambelii occupies a wide range of habitats including farmland, alpine meadows, grass, and dense shrublands (DeWolfe 1967).
Cotter, P. A. and B. A. Andres. 2000. Breeding bird habitat associations on the Alaska Breeding Bird Survey: USGS, Biological Resources Division Information and Technology Report USGS/BRD/ITR-2000- 0010, 53 p.
DeWolfe, B. B. 1967. Biology of White-crowned Sparrows in late summer at College, Alaska. Condor 69:110-132.
DeWolfe, B. B. and R. H. DeWolfe. 1962. Mountain White-crowned Sparrows in California. Condor 64:378-389.