Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus)

Vesper Sparrow

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Emberizidae | [latin] Pooecetes gramineus | [UK] Vesper Sparrow | [FR] Pinson vesperal | [DE] Abendammer | [ES] Gorrion torito | [NL] Avondgors


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Chondestes gramineus
Pooecetes gramineus NA w, n se USA, Mexico
Pooecetes gramineus affinis
Pooecetes gramineus confinis
Pooecetes gramineus gramineus

Physical charateristics

The white outer tail feathers are conspicuous when the bird flies. Otherwise it suggests a grayish Song Sparrow, but has a whitish eye-ring. Bend of wing is chestnut.

Listen to the sound of Vesper Sparrow

[audio: Sparrow.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 21 cm wingspan max.: 24 cm
size min.: 13 cm size max.: 15 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 13 days
fledging min.: 7 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 6  


North America : West, North


Meadows, fields, prairies, roadsides.
At all seasons, favors open grassy or weedy fields, often in rather dry situations with much open soil. May be in weedy roadsides, gravel pits, high mountain grasslands, stubble fields, grassy areas just above sandy beaches. Often breeds where there are
a few taller plants for use as song perches.


Male defends nesting territory by singing from a prominent raised perch. Courtship may involve male running about on ground near female with his wings and tail spread, sometimes fluttering into the air.
Nest: Site is on the ground, often in a slight depression and placed at the base of a grass clump, weed, or shrub. Nest is a bulky open cup made of grass and weeds, lined with fine grass, rootlets, animal hair.
Eggs: 3-4, sometimes 2-6. Whitish to pale greenish white, blotched with brown and gray. Incubation is mostly by female, about 11-
13 days. When disturbed at the nest, the female may flutter away as if injured, perhaps to lure intruders away.
Young: Both parents bring food for the nestlings. Young leave the nest 1-2 weeks after hatching, usually around 9-10 days. 1-2 broods per year, sometimes 3.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects and seeds. Feeds on many insects, especially in summer, including b
eetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, moths, true bugs, and many others, also spiders and other invertebrates. Also eats many seeds, especially in winter, mainly those of weeds and grasses.
Behavior: Forages mostly or entirely on the ground, often on bare soil between grass or weed clumps. Except during nesting season, often forages in small, loose flocks.


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.
Vesper Sparrow status Least Concern


Canada to central United States. Winters to southern Mexico. Migration: Migrates relatively early in spring and late in fall, with peak migration in many areas during April and October.

Distribution map

Vesper Sparrow distribution range map

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