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Lapland Longspur Calcarius lapponicus


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Lapland Longspur, breeding male
credit: Jimfbleak

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Emberizidae, New World Sparrows view all from this family

Description ADULT BREEDING MALE Has buff, brown, and black streaks on back, and brown wings with reddish brown greater coverts and tertial edges. Broad pale stripe (mostly white, but yellowish behind eye) runs from base of wings, framing the ear coverts to the eye; breast, face, and crown are black, and nape is reddish brown. Underparts are otherwise mostly white, but streaked black on flanks. ADULT NONBREEDING MALE Similar, but paler overall and black elements of plumage are mostly brown, but with dark-framed buff ear patch, white throat, and dark breast. ADULT FEMALE Recalls nonbreeding male, but is paler overall. JUVENILE Recalls adult female, but is heavily streaked.

Dimensions Length: 6-7" (15-18 cm)

Habitat Common summer visitor (mainly Apr-Aug) to northern tundra; winters in bare, grassy habitats.

Observation Tips Easy to see in suitable habitats.

Range New England, Eastern Canada, Southeast, Rocky Mountains, California, Western Canada, Florida, Southwest, Mid-Atlantic, Texas, Alaska, Plains, Northwest, Great Lakes

Voice Song is a short series of scratchy whistles; call is a rattle.

Discussion Colorful longspur. All birds have striking reddish brown greater coverts. Forms flocks outside breeding season. Sexes are separable.