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Nelson's Sparrow

Ammodramus nelsoni ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: EMBERIZIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A secretive sparrow with a brightly-colored face, the Nelson's Sparrow breeds along the edges of freshwater marshes and in wet meadows of interior North America, and in salt marshes along the northern Atlantic Coast.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
4.3–5.1 in
11–13 cm
Wingspan
7.9 in
20 cm
Weight
0.7–0.7 oz
19–21 g
Other Names
  • Sharp-tailed Sparrow (in part)
  • Bruant de Nelson (French)

Cool Facts

  • The Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow formerly was considered the same species as the Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow, collectively known as the Sharp-tailed Sparrow. The two forms have separate breeding ranges that barely overlap in Maine. They differ in genetics, songs, and subtle plumage characters.

Habitat


Marsh

Freshwater marshes and wet meadows in interior and brackish marshes along coast; in winter in salt and brackish marshes.

Food


Insects

Insects, spiders, snails, and seeds.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
2–6 eggs
Egg Description
Greenish, covered with dark speckles.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless.
Nest Description

Open cup of grass stems and blades, lined with finer grass blades and sometimes built up on sides to form partial covering.

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Ground Forager

Forages on ground in dense grass or edges of shallow pools.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Common.

Credits

  • Greenlaw, J. S. and J. D. Rising. 1994. Sharp-tailed Sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus ). In The Birds of North America, No. 112 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists' Union.

Range Map Help

Nelson
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