Grasshopper SparrowAmmodramus savannarum
4 1/2-5" (11-13 cm). A small, chunky grassland sparrow with clear buff breast and scaly-looking, dark rufous upperparts. Pale central stripe on crown; short, pointed tail.
A high-pitched, insect-like kip-kip-kip, zeeee, usually uttered from the top of a weed stalk.
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Open grassy and weedy meadows, pastures, and plains.
Breeds from British Columbia, Manitoba, and New Hampshire south to Florida (rare), West Indies, and Mexico. Winters north to California, Texas, and North Carolina.
This elusive sparrow-named for its buzzy song-is sensitive to subtle changes in its habitat. As soon as a weedy field becomes overgrown or trees have filled in an abandoned pasture, the Grasshopper Sparrow no longer uses the site for breeding. In some parts of the country it chooses different habitats, such as palmetto grasslands in Florida. Less of a seed-eater than our other grass sparrows, it feeds largely on insects. When flushed, this sparrow flies a short distance and drops out of sight, into tall grass.
4 or 5 white eggs, speckled with red-brown, in a cup of grass, often domed, lined with rootlets and hair and placed on the ground.