Merlin

Dickcissel

Silhouette DickcisselDickcissel

Dickcissel

Spiza americana
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Cardinalidae
Basic Description

The curt song of the Dickcissel sounds like the bird’s name, and it’s part of the soundtrack of the North American prairies. This chunky grassland bunting is colored like a miniature meadowlark, with a black V on a yellow chest. These birds are erratic wanderers—common across the middle of the continent, and a pleasant surprise whenever they turn up in pastures and fields elsewhere in the central and eastern United States. Dickcissels can form enormous flocks on migration and in winter.

More ID Info
image of range map for DickcisselRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

The best place to find Dickcissels is in overgrown pastures, savannahs, and croplands in the central Great Plains, although the birds move around from year to year so you may have to search several spots. Their song is fairly short but hard to miss, a clicky buzzing dick-dick-ceessa-ceessa. Watch for males sitting on barbed wire fences, posts, and shrubby trees as they launch into song over and over again.

Other Names
  • Arrocero (Spanish)
  • Dickcissel d'Amérique (French)
  • Cool Facts

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