Living Bird Magazine
Lark SparrowChondestes grammacus
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Passerellidae
A conspicuous sparrow of farmlands and roadsides, the Lark Sparrow has a bold face and tail pattern. With unusual courtship displays as well as plumage, it is like no other sparrow and is the sole member of its genus.More ID Info
- Gorrión Arlequín (Spanish)
- Bruant à joues marron (French)
- Cool Facts
- Unlike many songbirds, the Lark Sparrow walks on the ground rather than hops. It hops only during courtship.
- A courting male Lark Sparrow crouches on the ground, holds his tail up at a 45 degree angle from the ground, spreads the tail feathers to show off the white tips, and then struts with its wings drooping so that the wingtips nearly touch the ground. When the female is receptive, the male gives her a small twig just before copulation.
- The Lark Sparrow often takes over old mockingbird or thrasher nests instead of building its own. Occasionally the eggs and young of two species are found in the same nest, suggesting that the Lark Sparrow shares the nest with the other bird.
- The oldest recorded Lark Sparrow was a male, and at least 9 years, 1 month old when he was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in New Mexico.