Ammodramus Savannarum – Grasshopper Sparrow

Ammodramus Savannarum - Grasshopper Sparrow

The grasshopper sparrow or known in Latin as Ammodramus savannarum is a small New World sparrow that can be found in grassy areas in the family of Passerellidae. The genus Ammodramus contains nine species that can be found in grasslands and prairies throughout the world.

The grasshopper sparrow is a small, shy songbird that is rarely seen. Its song is composed of one to two chirps followed by a buzzy trill. This sparrow sings buzzy notes.

Quick Overview: Ammodramus Savannarum – Grasshopper Sparrow
Body size:
Around 4.5-5.5in (11-14 cm) and a weight of 23 g (.08 oz)
Main colors:
Brown, White, Yellow
Range:
Southern United States
Migratory Bird:
Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.:
January, February, June, July, August, September, December
Conservation Status:
Least Concern

Grasshopper sparrow Description

An elongated brown body with buff streaking is the grasshopper sparrow. Adults have buff breasts, sides, and a white belly. The juveniles’ buff breast and sides have dark brown vertical streaking. Grasshopper sparrows have large bills and flatheads. On top of the head and behind the eye are light central stripes. Yellow or golden lores and a brown tail.

Ammodramus Savannarum - Grasshopper Sparrow
Ammodramus Savannarum – Grasshopper Sparrow in California, USA. Photo by: Alan Schmierer

Size

These birds have a length of 4.5-5.5in (11-14 cm) and a weight of 23 g (.08 oz). Their wings could range from 8-8.5 in (20-22cm).

Feeding

The grasshopper sparrow eats both animals and plants. These invertebrates are eaten in the spring and summer. Adult grasshopper sparrows feed young caterpillars. All year, grains, weed seeds, and grass seeds are eaten.

Habitat

They nest in open areas all over New Jersey. Grasshopper sparrows have adapted well to controlled mowing schedules at airports. Historically, coastal wetlands were filled inadvertently creating grasshopper sparrow habitat.

Behavior

It is a diurnal bird that spends most of its time foraging, except during breeding season when males sing and display to defend breeding territories. Males sing and fight to defend their breeding territory. They tolerate their female mate and her helpers. Grasshopper sparrows are not territorial and do not form flocks. They are solitary when not breeding and use cryptic foraging techniques.

Ammodramus savannarum Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Passerellidae
  • Genus: Ammodramus
  • Species: Ammodramus savannarum

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States are during summer (June to September) and winter (December to February).

Distribution of the Grasshopper sparrow in the USA

From Virginia to Florida, most grasshopper sparrow populations winter along the Gulf of Mexico. Winter in western Mexico and Central America. A few breed in the west and a few in the east. Northern Louisiana, Texas, and Montana are breeding grounds. Coastal breeding ranges from southern Alberta to southern Ontario and the Great Lakes. It stretches from southern British Columbia to eastern Washington, Oregon, southern Idaho, to northern Utah, California, and the western Sierra Nevada. Some populations winter in Central America, Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and Florida. They winter in the Antilles.

Ammodramus Savannarum – Grasshopper Sparrow

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