Chestnut-collared Longspur

Silhouette LongspursLongspurs

Chestnut-collared Longspur

Calcarius ornatus
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Calcariidae
Basic Description

A true emblem of North America’s wild and windswept spaces, the Chestnut-collared Longspur is an integral part of the continent’s shortgrass prairies, rangelands, and desert grasslands. Breeding males are a bold mix of black belly, buffy throat, and chestnut nape, and they flaunt these colors as they perform fluttering display flights in early summer. In winter, males and females alike are grayish and inconspicuous as they forage in desert grasslands. Despite this species’ association with disturbed land, its population has declined by more than 80% since the 1960s.

More ID Info
image of range map for Chestnut-collared LongspurRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Don’t look for Chestnut-collared Longspurs in lush areas; look for them where the grass is short and sparse, particularly areas that are grazed or have recently burned. In spring displaying males are visible a long way off as their black underparts contrast with the surrounding green of the prairie. Because they use disturbed habitat, they’re found in different locations from year to year. But finding one Chestnut-collared Longspur often means you will find others, clumped together to take advantage of this patch of temporarily perfect prairie.

Other Names
  • Escribano Collarejo (Spanish)
  • Plectrophane à ventre noir (French)
  • Cool Facts