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Smith's Longspur

Silhouette LongspursLongspurs
Smith's LongspurCalcarius pictus
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Calcariidae

Basic Description

The male Smith’s Longspur is a lovely caramel-colored songbird with a striking black-and-white head pattern. Females and immatures are buffy and finely streaked, with an echo of the male's head pattern. The slight but sharply pointed bill and the black tail with white outer feathers are distinctive features. Smith's Longspurs breed in tundra and winter in grasslands and fields in the east-central United States. These birds have an unusual mating system in which both males and females often have multiple mates at the same time.

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

Find This Bird

Smith’s Longspurs are hard to locate on their remote arctic nesting grounds, as they move around frequently and their song is quite similar to an American Tree or Fox Sparrow, so it's easy to be fooled! Smith’s Longspurs are a bit easier to find in their winter range when flocks show up in pastures, agricultural fields, and the grassy fields of small airports, though the male’s plumage is less impressive then.

Other Names

  • Escribano de Smith (Spanish)
  • Plectrophane de Smith (French)
  • Cool Facts

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