Saltmarsh Sparrow Life History


Habitat MarshesSalt marshes.Back to top


Food InsectsInsects, spiders, marine invertebrates, and some seeds.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

Open cup of grass stems and blades, lined with finer grass blades and sometimes built up on sides to form partial covering.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:2-6 eggs
Egg Description:Greenish, covered with dark speckles.
Condition at Hatching:Helpless.
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Behavior Ground ForagerForages on ground in dense grass or edges of shallow pools.Back to top


Conservation Red Watch ListThere is little information on Saltmarsh Sparrow population trends, but the species is declining, and it is listed on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List, which includes bird species that are most at risk of extinction without significant conservation actions to reverse declines and reduce threats. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 75,000, with 100% living in the U.S.. The species rates a 19 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. It is both a Tri-National Concern Species, and a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species. Saltmarsh Sparrow is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. The species is threatened by habitat loss due to development, habitat degradation from chemical spills and other pollutants, invasive species, and sea level rise. Back to top


Greenlaw, Jon S. and James D. Rising. 1994. Saltmarsh Sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2014. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Partners in Flight (2017). Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

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