Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow

photo by Phil Swanson

Ammodramus nelsoni
L 5 1/4″ (13 cm).

Song or calls:
Song is short, raspy trill that ends in one low, clear note.

Description: Sexes similar. Gray central crown stripe; gray unstreaked nape; bright buffy eyebrow bordered above by dark stripe; diffuse grayish ear patch. Dark brown upperparts with white striping on back; buffy breast and sides with diffuse streaking; white belly. Juveniles are buffy overall with heavier streaking below; lack gray central crown stripe.

Bird Map
Habitat: Saltmarshes, lakeshores, and along wet edges of marshes and sloughs.

Where in Nebraska: Inconspicuous and seemingly rare spring and fall migrant in eastern Nebraska. Seen west to Custer, Cherry, and Sheridan Counties. Most of sightings are from Lancaster County.

Field Notes: Usually found in wetter habitats than those used by Le Conte’s Sparrow.

Fun Facts: Due to the secretive nature and unpredictable singing patterns, Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows are a hard species to learn about.