Grasshopper Sparrow

ID Info
Silhouette SparrowsSparrows

Grasshopper Sparrow

Ammodramus savannarum
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Passerellidae
Basic Description

The stubby-tailed and bull-necked Grasshopper Sparrow is easy to overlook throughout its range. When not singing its quiet, insectlike song from atop a stalk in a weedy pasture, it disappears into the grasses where it usually runs along the ground rather than flies. As sparrows go these birds are lightly marked, buffy tan with clean, unstreaked underparts contrasting with brown, gray, and orange above. The flat head, with an almost comically large bill for such a small bird, completes the distinctive look.

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

Find This Bird

Grasshopper Sparrows have a reputation for being hard to find, but learn their thin, buzzing song and you’ll hear it throughout the late spring and early summer emanating from overgrown pastures and hayfields with waist-high grasses. Once you hear the song, search for a small, round bird, often fluttering its wings, sitting a few inches below the top of a grass stalk. Grasshopper Sparrows are weak fliers and don’t tend to move around much on territory, which gives you time to search for the mysterious singer. Also look for them perched on barbed-wire fences adjacent to pastures; they avoid places with too much scrub or ground cover. When not singing, they can be nearly impossible to find, sticking to clumps of grass and running on the ground like mice.

Other Names
  • Chingolo Saltamontes (Spanish)
  • Bruant sauterelle (French)
  • Cool Facts