Family: Emberizidae, New World Sparrows view all from this family
Description ADULT BREEDING MALE Has black, brown, and buff stripes on back and brownish wings with two pale wing bars and white shoulder patch. Nape is chestnut, crown and ear covert margins are black, and otherwise whitish head is yellowish on face. Underparts are mostly black (some have chestnut on chest), except for white belly and undertail coverts. ADULT NONBREEDING MALE Like bleached version of breeding male with muted colors and pale feather fringes obscuring black elements of plumage. ADULT FEMALE Recalls a plain nonbreeding male, without white shoulder patch. JUVENILE Heavily streaked; first-winter recalls plain, washed out adult female.
Dimensions Length: 5 1/2-6 1/2" (14-17 cm)
Habitat Local summer visitor (mainly Apr-Sep) to short-grass prairies; winters in short, dense grassland.
Observation Tips Rewarding in springósinging, breeding plumage males are a delight.
Range Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Western Canada, California, Texas, Plains
Voice Song is a descending, chirpy tsi, sidididi zer'de; call is a rattling ch'd'd.
Discussion Well-marked longspur. Forms flocks outside breeding season. All birds have a mostly white tail with a black terminal triangle. Sexes are separable.