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Bachman's Sparrow Aimophila aestivalis


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Bachman's Sparrow
credit:  Albuttlee/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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

Description ADULT From west or northeast of range, has reddish brown and gray upperparts overall, colors align to form lengthways stripes on back. Reddish brown crown has pale central stripe; note the gray supercilium and face with reddish brown eyestripe. Underparts are pale, flushed buffy brown on breast. Southeastern subspecies is darker overall and has buff elements of plumage replaced by gray. JUVENILE Similar to respective adult, but with bolder head pattern and more pronounced streaking below.

Dimensions Length: 6" (15 cm)

Habitat Scarce in open grassy and brushy areas within pine forests; present year-round in many locations, but breeding range extends north in spring. Threatened by habitat loss and degradation.

Observation Tips Fairly easy to see when singing, but otherwise a real challenge to find.

Range Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, Southeast, Texas, Florida, Plains

Voice Song is a sweet, tuneful rattle, preceded by a thin "inhaled" whistle; call is a sharp t'zip.

Discussion Southeastern specialty that is endemic to U.S. Presence is easy to detect in spring when singing, but otherwise it is secretive and hard to flush. Subtle regional variation exists in plumage. Given this variation, sexes are similar.