Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Smith's Longspur Calcarius pictus


enlarge +

Smith's Longspur, breeding male perched
credit: Chester A. Reed

All Images

1 article:

Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

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

Description ADULT BREEDING MALE Has streaked brown back and brown wings with two white wing bars and white "shoulder" patch. Head has dark cap with white supercilium and eye surround, and white spot on ear coverts. Underparts and neck are orange-buff. ALL OTHER PLUMAGES Recall breeding male, but are duller overall, lack white "shoulder" patch, but have streaked back and nape; black elements of head pattern are replaced by streaked brown, white elements are replaced by buff.

Dimensions Length: 5 3/4-6 1/2" (15-17 cm)

Habitat Local summer visitor (mainly Jun-Aug) to northern tundra; winters in grassland in south-central U.S., from Texas to Iowa.

Observation Tips Note its limited range.

Range Eastern Canada, Plains, Texas, Southeast, Alaska, Great Lakes, Western Canada

Voice Song is a sweet whistling trill; call is a dry rattle.

Discussion Breeding male is distinctive. All birds have noticeably "warm" buff plumage. Forms flocks outside breeding season, when easy to overlook in favored grassland habitats. Bill is narrower than in Lapland Longspur. Sexes are dissimilar.