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Seaside Sparrow

Silhouette SparrowsSparrows
Seaside SparrowAmmospiza maritima
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Passerellidae

Basic Description

The aptly named Seaside Sparrow is a fixture in saltmarshes and rarely seen anywhere else. These large, dark sparrows, highlighted with yellow and buff, are well suited for a life clinging to marsh grasses and foraging in mud. They have strong legs and feet for agility and a long, heavy bill for digging invertebrates and seeds from dense vegetation and thick mud. Seaside Sparrows range across saltmarshes in search of prey-rich mudflats exposed by tides and storms. Their song is distinctive but fairly quiet, ending in a muffled trill.

More ID Info
image of range map for Seaside Sparrow
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Head to a saltmarsh along the U.S. Atlantic coast in springtime, and listen for the male's buzzy call. It sounds like a subdued version of a Red-winged Blackbird's song. When singing, males perch high in the marsh vegetation, especially in early morning but also through the night. To confirm the ID, look for this rather bulky sparrow's dark coloration and very large, long bill.

Other Names

  • Chingolo Costero (Spanish)
  • Bruant maritime (French)
  • Cool Facts