Living Bird Magazine
Bachman's SparrowPeucaea aestivalis
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Passerellidae
The grassy pine woodlands in the southeastern United States are home to a secretive and little-known sparrow that occurs nowhere else in the world. The brownish gray and rusty Bachman's Sparrow sports a long, rounded tail and a heavy, round bill. This pinewood sparrow hops through open and grassy understories, but once these areas start to get cramped with shrubs in the absence of fire, they take off. This Partners in Flight Red Watch List species has a sharply declining population due in part to fire suppression and logging schedules.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Bachman's Sparrows are understory birds, but they are rather secretive. Getting a good look means heading out early in the breeding season (as early as February) when males are more likely to be singing from low shrubs and lower branches of pines, making them easier to spot. Listen for a single whistle followed by a rapid trill. They may sing from the same perch for several minutes, so you'll have plenty of time to find them. They often occur in areas that also support Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. Look for pine forests with a grassy understory, well-spaced trees, and little to no shrubs.
- Chingolo de Bachman (Spanish)
- Bruant des pinèdes (French)
- Cool Facts
- John James Audubon first described the species for science in 1834. He named it after John Bachman, a clergyman from Charleston, South Carolina, who hosted Audubon during his expedition.
- To escape predators such as snakes, hawks, or small mammals, Bachman's Sparrows sometimes head underground into burrows dug by a gopher tortoise or a nine-banded armadillo.
- The oldest recorded Bachman's Sparrow was a male, and at least 3 years and 11 months old when it was captured and rereleased in Texas, the same state where it had been banded.