Skip to main content

LeConte's Sparrow

Silhouette SparrowsSparrows
LeConte's SparrowAmmospiza leconteii
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Passerellidae

Basic Description

Famously elusive and stubbornly stealthy, the pumpkin-faced LeConte’s Sparrow acts more like a mouse than a bird. This short-tailed, flat-headed sparrow breeds in marshy areas of North America's great grasslands. It spends much of its time foraging on the ground for seeds and insects, often scurrying rather than flying away from danger. Even singing males rarely climb into view. Because of conversion of grassland habitat, LeConte's Sparrows have declined sharply since 1966 and are on the Yellow Watch List for their declining population.

More ID Info
image of range map for LeConte's Sparrow
Range map provided by Birds of the World
Explore Maps

Find This Bird

The LeConte’s Sparrow is a difficult bird to see well, and almost never breaks cover. Much of the breeding range is remote, so your best opportunity to find one is on its wintering grounds. Look for them by walking through dense wet meadows (where allowed). Listen carefully for this bird's high, sharp call note, and watch for anything that flushes, or better yet, pops up on top of a piece of grass for a brief moment, before disappearing again into the vegetation.

Other Names

  • Chingolo de Leconte (Spanish)
  • Bruant de LeConte (French)
  • Cool Facts