Grasshopper Sparrow

Ammodramus savannarum

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

New World Sparrows and Towhees (Passerellida)

Code 4

GRSP

Code 6

AMMSAV

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Grasshopper Sparrow is a small species of bird whose natural habitat includes grasslands and marshes. Breeding of this species takes place in open grass fields and prairies in southern Canada and throughout the United States. This bird conceals its nest underneath existing vegetation on the ground. During winter months, the Grasshopper Sparrow migrates to the southern United States, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. The typical diet of this species consists of insects, including grasshoppers, and seeds found by foraging on the ground. The current conservation rating of the Grasshopper Sparrow is Least Concern, though loss of its natural habitat causes rapid decline in its numbers.

SUMMARY

Overview

Grasshopper Sparrow: Medium sparrow with brown-streaked upperparts and white underparts. Face, flanks, and breast are plain buff-brown. Head is flat with central white stripe though dark crown. Upper mandible is gray, while lower mandible is yellow. Pink legs and feet. Named for its insectlike song.

 

Range and Habitat

Grasshopper Sparrow: Breeds from British Columbia and Manitoba to New Hampshire south to California, Texas and central Florida. Absent from the desert southwest. Winters along the southern half of the U.S. and throughout Mexico. Inhabits prairie grasslands, pastures, old weedy fields, palmetto scrub, grain fields, and hayfields.

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Grasshopper Sparrow SONGS AND CALLS

Grasshopper Sparrow B1

Alternate song.

Grasshopper Sparrow C1

Song is an insect-like, high-pitched "kip-kip-zeeeeeeeeee".

Similar Sounding

LeConte's Sparrow A2

Song is a series of insect-like buzzes.

Savannah Sparrow C1

Song starts with a few short notes, then goes into a high buzz and ends with a lower trill.


Voice Text

"kip-kip-kip zeee"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Grasshopper Sparrow parents prepare grasshoppers to feed to the nestlings by shaking off each pair of legs in turn.
  • A secretive bird, it will fly a short distance when flushed, and then drop back into the grass out of sight. They usually stay out of sight unless they are singing, when they will perch on a weed stalk, shrub, or fence wire and belt out their buzzy song.
  • Twelve subspecies are recognized. Four breed in North America, four are resident in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador, and four are resident in the Caribbean.
  • A group of Grasshopper Sparrows are collectively known as a "plague" of sparrows.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Artist

Imran Kahn

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
CrownX
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
Upper mandibleX
The upper part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X