McCown's Longspur

Silhouette LongspursLongspurs

McCown's Longspur

Rhynchophanes mccownii
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Calcariidae
Basic Description

McCown's Longspurs are birds of wide-open spaces, the shortgrass prairies at the center of the North American continent. The handsome gray, white, chestnut, and black males deliver a delightful flight song while parachuting toward earth on upstretched wings and fanned tail. Unfortunately, little shortgrass prairie remains undisturbed or undeveloped, and this species has lost some 94% of its population in the last 50 years. McCown's Longspurs sometimes breed in grazed rangeland; in winter, flocks visit plowed fields, eating seeds and grains.

More ID Info
image of range map for McCown's LongspurRange map provided by Birds of the WorldExplore Maps

Find This Bird

McCown’s Longspurs nest in some of the world’s most spectacular and most endangered prairies. In early spring (April), McCown’s can be difficult to track down, as they rove over large areas. By late April and May they have paired, and the males' simple, cheerful flight song, given at dawn through midmorning, makes them much easier to find (and a joy to watch).

Other Names
  • Escribano de Mccown (Spanish)
  • Plectrophane de McCown (French)
  • Cool Facts