Cassin's Sparrow Life History


Habitat GrasslandsArid grasslands with scattered small trees and shrubs.Back to top


Food InsectsInsects (during the breeding season) and seeds.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

Open cup of grass and other fibers, lined with fine grasses and horsehair. Located on or near the ground in grass clump or low shrub.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:3-5 eggs
Egg Description:White and unmarked.
Condition at Hatching:Helpless with tufts of gray down.
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Behavior Ground ForagerTerritorial male Cassin's Sparrow flies up to a height of 2-6 meters (6.6-19.7 ft), or sometimes as high as 12-15 meters (39-49 ft), uttering quiet first notes of song. Then he floats down on stiff wings, with tail fanned and legs dangling, while completing the song.Feeds almost entirely on the ground.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernCassin's Sparrow populations are relatively stable, though may have experienced a decline between 1966 and 2015, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 11 million, with 67% spending at least part of the year in the U.S., and 55% in Mexico. It is a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species, and rates an 11 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Cassin's Sparrow is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List. Grazing and clearing of land may threaten the species.Back to top


Dunning Jr., John B., Richard K. Bowers Jr., Sherman J. Suter and Carl E. Bock. 1999. Cassin's Sparrow (Peucaea cassinii), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Partners in Flight (2017). Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

Sauer, J. R., D. K. Niven, J. E. Hines, D. J. Ziolkowski, Jr., K. L. Pardieck, J. E. Fallon, and W. A. Link (2017). The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966–2015. Version 2.07.2017. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

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