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Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus


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Lark Sparrow

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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

Description ADULT Has streaked, gray-brown back and brown wings with faint pale wing bars. Head is boldly patterned: chestnut crown with pale central stripe, white supercilium, dark-framed chestnut ear coverts, and black malar stripe bordering white "mustache" and throat. Underparts are otherwise whitish, with striking dark central breast spot. JUVENILE Similar, but duller and much more streaked.

Dimensions Length: 5 1/2-6 1/2" (14-17 cm)

Habitat Fairly common summer visitor (mainly Apr-Aug) to bare, grassy ground, open woodland, and prairies with scattered bushes and trees. Winters in southern U.S. and Mexico.

Observation Tips Easy to see in suitable habitats, but usually fairly thinly scattered.

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

Voice Song is a series of musical trills, buzzing phrases and whistling notes; call is a thin tsit.

Discussion Large, well-marked sparrow. Often feeds on relatively open ground, hence easy to see. Forms small flocks outside breeding season. In flight, note the long, rounded, and mostly dark tail with striking white edges; pattern also used in display. Sexes are similar.