Grasshopper Sparrow

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ammodramus savannarum

Grasshopper Sparrow

The Grasshopper Sparrow is a small, short-tailed, flat-headed sparrow found in weedy grasslands.

Adults have a cryptic plumage on the upperparts with blackish, chestnut, gray and buff pattern. Wings and tail are brown with buff and pale brown edges.

The outer rectrices are paler. There are two pale buff wingbars on the upperwing. Rump and uppertail-coverts are mottled rufous. On the underparts, throat, breast and flanks are buff but the throat is paler. The belly is mostly whitish.

Males and females have similar plumages.

Juveniles have dark brown crown, nape and upperparts with pale buff to rusty brown feather edges. The underparts are whitish with brown-streaked breast. Rest of underparts are finely streaked and spotted brown.

CALL: A weak “tillic” or a soft, insect-like “tk” or “tik”.

SONG: A high-pitched, thin, insect-like buzz of 1-2 seconds which starts with one or more “ts, zzzziiir” notes audible at close range, giving a buzzy trill “pit-sip tzzzzzzzzzzz”.

Feeds mainly on insects and seeds according to the season. During summer, mostly insects are taken and during winter, it feeds mainly on seeds from weeds and grasses, and also waste grain.

Frequents open grasslands. In the western parts of the range, it is mainly found in arid grasslands with shrub cover and more vegetation. In tall grass areas and wet grasslands of the eastern parts, it often frequents sparsely vegetated areas.

Breeds across Southern Canada, the USA, Mexico and Central America.

There is a small endangered population in the Andes of Colombia, and probably in Ecuador too.

The northern populations migrate to south USA, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

This species is usually absent from the desert southwest.

The female builds a cup-shaped nest with grasses and the interior is lined with softer materials. 

She lays 4 - 5 creamy-white eggs with red-brown markings and incubates during 11 - 13 days.


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