6" (15 cm). Male like miniature meadowlark (yellow breast with black V), but has heavy bill and chestnut wing patch. Female much like female House Sparrow, but with narrow streaks along sides, and yellowish throat and breast.
Song sounds like dick-dick-cissel, the first two notes being sharp sounds followed by a buzzy, almost hissed cissel; repeated over and over again from a conspicuous perch on a fence, bush, or weed. Call a distinctive buzzy note, often given in flight.
zeet flight calls
chick calls of pair (nest alarm)
Recordings © Lang Elliott, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart, Bob McGuire, and others. Musicofnature.com. All Rights Reserved.
Open country in grain or hay fields and in weed patches.
Breeds from eastern Montana and Great Lakes region south to Texas and Gulf Coast, locally farther east. Winters mainly in tropics.
Formerly common in farming regions of the eastern states, especially on the Atlantic coastal plain, the Dickcissel disappeared from that region by the middle of the last century and is now most numerous in the Midwest. It appears in small numbers on the East Coast during the fall migration and rarely but regularly in winter at feeders, often with House Sparrows.
4 or 5 pale blue eggs in a cup of plant stems and grass set on or near the ground, often in alfalfa and clover fields.