Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Carol Davis
Photo Copyright Carol Davis

The grasshopper sparrow, Ammodrammus savannarum, is a bird of the grasslands of North America, Central America, and northwestern South America. The densest breeding populations are found in the central and northern Great Plains, but nesting occurs across the eastern United States and at scattered localities west of the Rocky Mountains, as well as in Central America and South America. This sparrow winters throughout the southern United States, Mexico, and Central America. In Utah, breeding populations have been found only in northern parts of the state, and the species is currently considered to be of conservational concern, appearing on the Utah Sensitive Species List.

In April of each year, nests of grass are built on the ground at the bases of grass clumps. Usually four or five eggs are laid and incubated for eleven or twelve days. Young fledge after just nine days, and adults may then produce a second brood. This sparrow feeds largely on insects. Although grasshoppers may compose a significant portion of the diet, the source of the common name is the bird's characteristically insect-like song.


  • Vickery. 1996. Grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum). Birds of North America 239: 24 pp.

  • Rising, J. D., and D. D. Beadle. 1996. A guide to the identification and natural history of the sparrows of the United States and Canada. Academic Press, San Diego. xii + 365 pp.