Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum)

Grasshopper Sparrow

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Emberizidae | [latin] Ammodramus savannarum | [UK] Grasshopper Sparrow | [FR] Pinson sauterelle | [DE] Heuschrecken-Ammer | [ES] Gorrion chapulin | [NL] Sprinkhaangors


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Ammodramus savannarum NA, MA widespread, also Colombia
Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus
Ammodramus savannarum beatriceae
Ammodramus savannarum bimaculatus
Ammodramus savannarum borinquensis
Ammodramus savannarum caribaeus
Ammodramus savannarum caucae
Ammodramus savannarum cracens
Ammodramus savannarum floridanus
Ammodramus savannarum intricatus
Ammodramus savannarum perpallidus
Ammodramus savannarum pratensis
Ammodramus savannarum savannarum

Physical charateristics

A little sparrow of open fields with a short sharp tail, flat head, yellow shoulder (hard to see). Crown with a pale median stripe; back striped with chestnut and black. Differs from other sparrows of meadows in having a relatively unstriped buffy breast.
However, the juvenile has a streaked breast. Flight feeble.

Listen to the sound of Grasshopper Sparrow

[audio: Sparrow.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 17 cm wingspan max.: 18 cm
size min.: 11 cm size max.: 12 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 12 days
fledging min.: 9 days fledging max.: 10 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America, Middle America : widespread, also Colombia


Grassland, hayfields, prairies.
Breeds in rather dry fields and prairies, especially those with fairly tall grass and weeds and a few scattered shrubs. Also nests in overgrown pastures and hayfields, and sometimes in fields of other crops. In Florida, nests in prairie with scattered pa
lmettos. During migration and in winter, found in many types of open fields.


May nest in small colonies; numbers often change markedly from year to year. Male sings from a low perch to defend territory. In courtship, sometimes sings in flight.
Site is on the ground, very well hidden at base of weed, shrub, or clump of grass. Often placed in slight depression, so that rim of nest is even with level of ground. Nest (probably built by female) is an open cup of dry grass, lined with fine grass, ro
otlets, sometimes animal hair. Usually has partly domed back and sides of grass woven into overhanging vegetation, leaving opening at front.
Eggs: 4-5, sometimes 3-6. Creamy white, spotted with reddish brown and gray. Incubation is by female only, about 11-12 days.
Young: Both parents bring food for the nestlings. Young leave the nest about 9 days after hatching, before they are able to fly well.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects and seeds.
In summer feeds mostly on insects, including many grasshoppers, also beetles, caterpillars, ants, true bugs, and many others. Also eats spiders, snails, centipedes, and earthworms. Seeds are also important in diet, probably more so in winter, including t
hose of weeds and grasses as well as waste grain.
Behavior: Forages while hopping or running on the ground, picking up items from the soil or from plant stems. Almost always forages alone.


This species has an extremely 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.
Grasshopper Sparrow status Least Concern


Southern Canada to southern United States, West Indies; also southern Mexico to Ecuador. Migration: Apparently migrates mostly at night. Peak of migration in many areas during late April and October.

Distribution map

Grasshopper Sparrow distribution range map

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