Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
© Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren/Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.0)

Le Conte's Sparrow

Le Conte's Sparrow
Ammodramus leconteii
Perching Birds | Family: New World Sparrows, Emberizidae

An estimated 74% of the species' North American population breeds within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

This elusive bird keeps to the thick grass like all grass-loving sparrows except when it mounts an exposed perch to sing. It is almost impossible to flush, for it prefers running to flying. Common in the prairie regions of west-central Canada, it inhabits the drier grass borders of rush-grown marshes. It was named for Major John Le Conte of Georgia, an early American naturalist (1818-1891).

Description

5" (13 cm). Similar to the interior Canadian race of the Sharp-tailed Sparrow, but crown stripe is white instead of gray; wide reddish collar on nape and upper back.

Voice

2 very thin, insect-like hisses.

Nesting

4 brown-spotted whitish eggs in a grass cup lined with hair and set on the ground, usually in a grass clump.

Habitat

Moist grasslands and boggy meadows; also dry fields in winter.

Range/Migration

Breeds from Mackenzie and central Quebec south to northern Montana, Minnesota, and northern Michigan. Winters in southeastern states.