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Grasshopper Sparrow

Ammodramus savannarum ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: EMBERIZIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A furtive bird of open grasslands, the Grasshopper Sparrow takes its name not only from its diet, but also from its insect-like song. It is found during the breeding season across much of the eastern United States and Great Plains, nesting and feeding mostly on the ground.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
4.3–4.7 in
11–12 cm
Weight
0.5–0.7 oz
14–20 g
Other Names
  • Bruant sauterelle (French)
  • Gorrion chapulin, Gorrion chicharra (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Twelve subspecies of Grasshopper Sparrow are recognized. Four breed in North America, four are resident in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador, and four are resident in the Caribbean.
  • Grasshopper Sparrow parents prepare grasshoppers to feed to the nestlings by shaking off each pair of legs in turn.

Habitat


Grassland

Open grasslands and prairies with patches of bare ground.

Food


Insects

Mostly insects, especially grasshoppers.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
3–6 eggs
Egg Description
White with light reddish brown speckles.
Condition at Hatching
Eyes closed, covered with grayish-brown down.
Nest Description

Cup of grass stems and blades, very well concealed on the ground. Usually has a dome made of overhanging grasses, with a side entrance.

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Ground Forager

Forages on the ground, locating prey by sight on bare ground. Paralyzes grasshopper by pinching its thorax.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Grasshopper Sparrow populations declined by 2.5 percent per year between 1966 and 2010, resulting in a cumulative decline of 67 percent, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 31 million with 95 percent spending some part of the year in the U.S., 1 percent in Canada, and 53 percent wintering in Mexico. The 2014 State of the Birds Report listed Lark Bunting as a Common Bird in Steep Decline, and this U.S.-Canada Stewardship species rates a 12 out of 20 on the Partners in Flight Continental Concern Score. Grasshopper Sparrow are declining throughout their range from habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation.

Credits

Range Map Help

Grasshopper Sparrow Range Map
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