- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Passerellidae
Famously elusive and stubbornly stealthy, the pumpkin-faced LeConte’s Sparrow acts more like a mouse than a bird. This short-tailed, flat-headed sparrow breeds in marshy areas of North America's great grasslands. It spends much of its time foraging on the ground for seeds and insects, often scurrying rather than flying away from danger. Even singing males rarely climb into view. Because of conversion of grassland habitat, LeConte's Sparrows have declined sharply since 1966 and are on the Yellow Watch List for their declining population.More ID Info
Find This Bird
The LeConte’s Sparrow is a difficult bird to see well, and almost never breaks cover. Much of the breeding range is remote, so your best opportunity to find one is on its wintering grounds. Look for them by walking through dense wet meadows (where allowed). Listen carefully for this bird's high, sharp call note, and watch for anything that flushes, or better yet, pops up on top of a piece of grass for a brief moment, before disappearing again into the vegetation.
- Chingolo de Leconte (Spanish)
- Bruant de LeConte (French)
- Cool Facts
- The LeConte's Sparrow is famously elusive. It stays hidden in dense grass, often running along the ground rather than flying. They're so hard to find and track that, although the species was officially described in 1790, it took scientists nearly 100 years longer to find and describe the first nest.
- While searching for LeConte’s Sparrows in Wisconsin, researchers found only 8 out of 86 males singing on perches exposed enough to provide an identifiable view.
- The oldest LeConte’s Sparrow on record was just over 4 years old when it was recaptured and rereleased in Michigan in 2007.