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    Vesper Sparrow Life History


    Habitat GrasslandsFound in various open habitats with grass, including prairie, sagebrush steppe, meadows, pastures, and roadsides.Back to top


    Food InsectsSeeds of grasses, weeds, and grain crops; also insects during the breeding season.Back to top


    Nest Placement

    Nest Ground

    Nest Description

    A shallow cup of woven grasses, placed on the ground.

    Nesting Facts
    Clutch Size:2-6 eggs
    Egg Description:Whitish, with variable brown or purplish spots, streaks, and blotches.
    Condition at Hatching:Helpless with sparse tufts of down.
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    Behavior Ground ForagerScratches on the ground, sometimes using both feet.Back to top


    Conservation Low ConcernVesper Sparrow is declining throughout its range. Overall, populations fell by 37% between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 28 million, with 64% spending some part of the year in the U.S., 36% breeding in Canada, and 42% wintering in Mexico. The species rates an 11 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. The Oregon population of Vesper Sparrow 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. Various farming practices, including use of chemicals, large-scale tillage, and early harvesting of hay, all contribute to declines of this species. Vesper Sparrow is listed as endangered, threatened, or of special conservation concern in several states. Back to top


    Jones, Stephanie L. and John E. Cornely. 2002. Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus), 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.

    Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, J. E. Fallon, K. L. Pardieck, Jr. Ziolkowski, D. J. and W. A. Link. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, results and analysis 1966-2013 (Version 1.30.15). USGS Patuxtent Wildlife Research Center 2014b. Available from

    Sibley, David Allen. 2014. The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A Knopf, New York.

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