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Grasshopper Sparrow


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A furtive bird of open grasslands, the Grasshopper Sparrow takes its name not only from its diet, but also from its insect-like song. It is found during the breeding season across much of the eastern United States and Great Plains, nesting and feeding mostly on the ground.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
4.3–4.7 in
11–12 cm
0.5–0.7 oz
14–20 g
Other Names
  • Bruant sauterelle (French)
  • Gorrion chapulin, Gorrion chicharra (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Twelve subspecies of Grasshopper Sparrow are recognized. Four breed in North America, four are resident in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador, and four are resident in the Caribbean.
  • Grasshopper Sparrow parents prepare grasshoppers to feed to the nestlings by shaking off each pair of legs in turn.
  • The oldest recorded Grasshopper Sparrow was at least 9 years, 1 month old when it was recaught and rereleased during banding operations in Maryland.



Open grasslands and prairies with patches of bare ground.



Mostly insects, especially grasshoppers.


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.
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.

Nest Placement



Ground Forager

Forages on the ground, locating prey by sight on bare ground. Paralyzes grasshopper by pinching its thorax.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Grasshopper 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.


Range Map Help

Grasshopper Sparrow Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

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