Bairds Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii)

Bairds Sparrow

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Emberizidae | [latin] Ammodramus bairdii | [UK] Bairds Sparrow | [FR] Pinson de Baird | [DE] Bairdammer | [ES] Sabanero de Baird | [NL] Bairds Gors


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

An elusive prairie sparrow. The light breast is crossed by a narrow band of fine black streaks. Head yellow-brown, streaked. The key mark is a broad ocher median crown stripe.

Listen to the sound of Bairds Sparrow

[audio: Sparrow.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 21 cm wingspan max.: 23 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 13 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 12 days
fledging min.: 8 days fledging max.: 11 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


North America : nc


Mostly native prairies.
Breeds mainly in northern prairies with fairly tall grass and with scattered tall weeds or low bushes; also sometimes nests in fields of wheat or other crops. During migration and in winter, found mostly on shortgrass prairie and in weedy fields.


May nest in small, loose colonies. Courtship display of male may involve walking on ground, fluttering one wing at a time over his back, repeatedly bowing.
Nest: Site is on ground in a grassy area, well hidden. Usually in a sligh
t depression, sometimes tucked under a dense overhanging grass clump. Nest (probably built by the female) is a shallow open cup made of dry grass, sometimes with some weeds added; may be lined with fine grass, animal hair, moss.
Eggs: 4-5, sometimes 3-6. Grayish white, heavily spotted with reddish brown. Incubation is by the female only, about 11-12 days.
Young: Both parents feed young (but the female may do more at first). Young leave the nest after about 8-10 days, before they are able to fly, and are fed by their parents for at least another 1-
2 weeks. 1 brood per year.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects and seeds. Diet varies with season. In summer, feeds mainly on insects, including grasshoppers, caterpillars, moths, beetles, leafhopper
s, and others, as well as spiders and seeds. Young birds are fed mostly grasshoppers and caterpillars. Diet at other seasons is mostly seeds of weeds and grasses.
Behavior: Forages on the ground, moving about rather slowly among grass clumps. Almost always forages alone.


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Bairds Sparrow status Least Concern


Northern Great Plains. Winters southwestern United States, northern Mexico. Migration:
Seldom detected during migration. Arrives on wintering areas during October and November, departs during April. Extremely rare stray east or west of normal migration route through prairies.

Distribution map

Bairds Sparrow distribution range map

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