Grasshopper Sparrow Life History


Habitat GrasslandsOpen grasslands and prairies with patches of bare ground.Back to top


Food InsectsMostly insects, especially grasshoppers.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

Cup of grass stems and blades, very well concealed on the ground. Usually has a dome made of overhanging grasses, with a side entrance.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:3-6 eggs
Egg Description:White with light reddish brown speckles.
Condition at Hatching:Eyes closed, covered with grayish-brown down.
Back to top


Behavior Ground ForagerForages on the ground, locating prey by sight on bare ground. Paralyzes grasshopper by pinching its thorax.Back to top


Conservation Common Bird in Steep DeclineGrasshopper Sparrow populations declined by almost 3% per year between 1966 and 2014, resulting in a cumulative decline of 75%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 31 million with 95% spending some part of the year in the U.S., 53% in Mexico, and 1% breeding in Canada. This U.S.-Canada Stewardship species rates a 12 out of 20 on the Partners in Flight Continental Concern Score. The 2014 State of the Birds Report lists Grasshopper Sparrow as a Common Bird in Steep Decline. The species is declining throughout its range from habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation.Back to top


Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2014. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

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

Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, J. E. Fallon, K. L. Pardieck, Jr. Ziolkowski, D. J. and W. A. Link. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, results and analysis 1966-2013 (Version 1.30.15). USGS Patuxtent Wildlife Research Center 2014b. Available from

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

Vickery, Peter D. 1996. Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Back to top