Smith's Longspur

Calcarius pictus

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Longspurs and Snow Buntings (Calcariidae)

Code 4

SMLO

Code 6

CALPIC

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Smith's Longspur has a large range, estimated globally at 710,000 square kilometers. Native to the United States and Canada, this bird prefers grassland, wetland, and shrubland ecosystems, though it can also live on arable land. The global population of this bird is estimated at 75,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of Smith's Longspur is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Smith's Longspur: Medium sparrow, yellow-brown streaked upperparts, black head with white eyebrow and ear patch, and yellow-brown nape, throat, and underparts. Wings have large white bars. Tail is black with white edges. Yellow-brown legs and feet. Feeds on seeds, spiders, and insects.

 

Range and Habitat

Smith's Longspur: Breeds from northern and central Alaska across northern Canada to the Hudson Bay. Spends winters from southern Nebraska, through eastern Oklahoma, south to Texas, and east to the Mississippi River. Breeds on dry, hummocky areas of Arctic tundra, sometimes near forest edges. Spends winters on open fields.

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Smith's Longspur SONGS AND CALLS

Smith's Longspur A1

Common call is a dry rattle of rapid "tic-tic-tic" notes.

Smith's Longspur A2

Song is a high-pitched warble that starts soft and ends with a loud "we-chew".

Similar Sounding

Chestnut-collared Longspur A1

Song is a short and descending musical warble.

Lapland Longspur P1

Song is a series of squeaky, loud notes.


Voice Text

"wee-chew!"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Audubon named the Smith's Longspur after his friend Gideon B. Smith. Longspur refers to the elongated claw of the hind toe.
  • Males are not territorial, but instead compete for fertilizations by copulating with females frequently in order to dilute or displace sperm from other males.
  • Over a period of one week in June, a female will copulate over 350 times on average; this is one of the highest copulation rates of any bird.
  • A group of longspurs are collectively known as a "drive" of longspurs.

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

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Irina Rud-Volga

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

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

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Ear patchX
Consists of soft, loose-webbed feathers on the side of the bird's head below and behind the eyes.
EyebrowX
Also called the supercilicum or superciliary it is the arch of feathers over each eye.
NapeX
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X