South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Lapland Longspur

Calcarius lapponicus

Length: 6.5 inches Wingspan: 11 inches Seasonality: Winter
ID Keys: (In winter plumage in South Dakota) Strong facial pattern, streaking on sides, chestnut on wings

Lapland Longspur - Calcarius lapponicus A common winter visitor to the state, the Lapland Longspur summers and breeds in the Arctic Tundra.  They can often be found in conjunction with Horned Larks  in the state as they forage in open fields and pastures.  Winter flocks can number in the thousands.

Habitat: Prefers open country in winter, including farm fields, pastures, grasslands, and beaches.  It summers on the Arctic tundra.

Diet: Winter diet in South Dakota is primarily seeds and waste grain.  Summer diet includes seeds but also many insects and spiders.

Behavior: Very gregarious except while nesting, Lapland Longspurs often forage in flocks numbering in the thousands.  They primarily forage by walking along the ground. 

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota

Song: Rich jingly warbling.

Migration: Winters throughout much of the continental United States.  Summers in extreme northern Canada and Alaska.

Similar Species: Smith's Longspur

Conservation Status: Abundant and widespread.  Summer breeding range is remote and generally free of human disturbance.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Lapland Longspur

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Lapland Longspur"

3) Lapland Longspur

Photo Information: December 2nd, 2005 - Minnehaha County - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Lapland Longspur photos.


Click on the map below for higher-resolution views
Lapland Longspur - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common migrant and winter visitor statewide.