- 3.9–5.9 in
- 0.8–0.9 oz
- Pipit de Sprague (French)
- Bisbita llanera (Spanish)
- Displaying males often remain airborne for half an hour. In one case, a male Sprague's Pipit was observed displaying for three full hours before descending to the ground. No other bird species is known to perform such prolonged displays
Breeds and winters in open grassland with good drainage and no shrubs or trees.
Mostly insects and spiders, as well as some seeds.
- Clutch Size
- 4–6 eggs
- Egg Description
- Pale whitish with brown blotches.
- Condition at Hatching
- Downy and helpless.
A cup woven of fine grasses placed on the ground. Some nests have canopies of long grasses, sometimes forming a complete dome.
Territorial male performs a display by flying from the ground into the wind, ascending to 50-100 meters off the ground, singing and gliding (often pushed backward by the wind), then flapping again and repeating, and finally plummeting straight down and flying into the grass. Picks prey from ground or grasses while walking or running.
Sprague's Pipit numbers declined by almost 3.5% per year between 1966 and 2014, resulting in a cumulative decline of 87%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 900,000 with 43% spending some part of the year in the U.S., 80% breeding in Canada, and 57% wintering in Mexico. The species rates a 14 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Sprague's Pipit is both a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species, and a Tri-National Concern Species, and it is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action. Loss of habitat as native prairie has been overgrazed and converted for farmland, has led to dramatic declines in Sprague's Pipit populations throughout its range.
- Robbins, M. B., and B. C Dale. 1999. Sprague's Pipit (Anthus spragueii). In The Birds of North America, No. 439 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
- North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee. 2014. State of the Birds 2014 Report. U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, DC.
- Partners in Flight. 2012. Species assessment database.
- USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2014. North American Breeding Bird Survey 1966–2014 Analysis.