Grasshopper Sparrow

Ammodramus savannarum
Range Map

As its name suggests, the Grasshopper Sparrow loves dense grasslands. Not only are they fond of eating grasshoppers, their song sounds similar to their favorite prey. These birds are smaller than most of their sparrow cousins and because they usually stay on the ground, they are difficult to spot in the field. In the breeding season, the males will sing from slightly elevated perches in the grass fields they love.

Summer breeding takes place over most of the USA east of the Rocky Mountains and the coastal strip in California. Some of these birds will breed west of the Rockies in Wyoming, Idaho, and Washington. In winter, they migrate into the southeastern states of the USA and most of Mexico.

Today’s science recognises twelve subspecies of Grasshopper Sparrow:

  • A. s. perpallidus, A. s. ammolegus, A. s. pratensis, and A. s. floridanus all breed in North America.
  • A. s. cracens, A. s. bimaculatus, A. s. beatriceae, and A. s. caucae, breed from southern Mexico to northern Ecuador.
  • A. s. savannarum, A. s. borinquensis, A. s. intricatus, and A. s. caribaeus, breed on Caribbean Islands.

Of the four North American subspecies:

  • A. s. perpallidus breeds in southern Canada and in the USA south to California and east to Minnesota, south to Oklahoma and central Texas, and northwestern Mexico. Their winter range is in the southern USA, Mexico and from Guatemala to El Salvador.
  • A. s. ammolegus breeds in southern Arizona and nearby northwestern Mexico. They spend winters in western Mexico, south to Oaxaca and Guatemala.
  • A. s. pratensis breeds east of the Great Plains from Wisconsin through Michigan, southeastern Canada, south to eastern Oklahoma, northeastern Texas, Arkansas, North Carolina and Virginia. They spend winters from the southern limits of their breeding range south to the Bahamas, Cuba, Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.
  • A. s. floridanus is resident in central Florida.

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