Nelson's Sparrow

Ammodramus nelsoni

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

New World Sparrows and Towhees (Passerellida)

Code 4

NESP

Code 6

AMMNEL

ITIS

Egg Color:

Light green with heavy brown spotting



Number of Eggs:

3 - 7



Incubation Days:

11



Egg Incubator:

Female



Nest Location:

Attached to vegetation.



Nest Material:

Grasses, Stems



Migration:

Migratory



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General

Nelson's Sparrow: Small sparrow with brown streaked upperparts. Breast and sides are pale brown with pale streaks; throat, belly, and undertail coverts are white. Head has gray-brown crown and nape, orange-brown face, and gray cheeks. Tail is short and pointed. Sexes are similar. Juvenile has less gray.

Range and Habitat

Nelson's Sparrow: Breeds from northern Minnesota and the Dakotas to Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. Also found around the Hudson Bay, southern Quebec, and coast of New Brunswick and Maine. Occurs as a migrant in the Midwest and the Atlantic coast. Winters from Delaware to Texas. Inhabits salt marshes.

Breeding and Nesting

Nelson's Sparrow: Three to seven light green eggs with heavy brown spots are laid in an open cup nest made of dry grass and stems, and attached to vegetation close to the ground. Eggs are incubated for 11 days by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Nelson's Sparrow: Feeds mainly on insects, aquatic invertebrates, and seeds. Forages on the ground or in marsh vegetation; sometimes probes mud.

Readily Eats

Sunflower Seed, Commercial Mixed Bird Seed

Vocalization

Nelson's Sparrow: Song is a raspy trill, “psdhee-zipt”, “pshhh’tpt” or "p-tssssshh-uk." It sounds like water being dropped onto a hot skillet. Call is a sharp "chip" or "tsik."

Similar Species

Nelson's Sparrow: Saltmarsh Sparrow has a white throat separated from orange-brown face by a dark streak and heavier streaked breast.

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Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
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.
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