Lark Sparrow

photo by Phil Swanson

Chondestes grammacus
L 6 1/2″ (17 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Repeated “tsip.” Song includes various trills interspersed with low “churr

Description: Sexes similar. Distinctive head pattern: chestnut ear patches and crown striping bordered in black and white. Mottled brown upperparts; grayish-white underparts marked only with dark central breast spot. Black tail has white corners and outer tail feathers. Juvenile has streaked crown, breast, and sides; lacks head pattern of adult.

Behavior: The male sings constantly both day and night, from the ground, a wire, or a fence post.

lark sparrow
Habitat: Open woodlands, roadsides, farmlands, and native grasslands and weedy fields that are scattered with trees and shrubs.

Where in Nebraska: Common spring and fall migrant across the state. Common summer resident in grasslands throughout Nebraska, but especially in Sandhills and Panhandle.

Fun Facts: Walks on the ground rather than hops, like many other sparrows.

Lark Sparrow - photo by Phil Swanson Lark Sparrow - NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
(click image for larger view)