South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Lark Sparrow

Chondestes grammacus

Length: 6.5 inches Wingspan: 11 inches Seasonality: Summer
ID Keys: Distinctive face pattern with rusty ear patch, dark spot on chest, white edged tail

Lark Sparrow - Chondestes grammacusLark Sparrows are generally very easy to identify due to their very strong facial pattern.  While they can occasionally be found in the Eastern U.S., their preference for open ground with scattered bushes makes Western U.S. habitats much more favorable for them.

Habitat: Prefers open ground with scattered taller plant, such as grasslands with brush or hedgerows along farm fields.

Diet: Mostly seeds in the winter, seeds and many insects in the summer. 

Behavior: Gregarious in most seasons, foraging along the ground in small flocks. 

Nesting: May through July

Breeding Map: Breeding bird survey map

Song: Lark Sparrow Song

Migration: Summers in much of the central and western United States and into south-central Canada.   Winters in the extreme southern U.S. and points south.  Populations in the extreme southern U.S. and California are often permanent residents.

Similar Species: Strong facial patterns makes it generally unmistakable.

Bird Feeders: Will occasionally attend feeders for some seeds and grains.

Conservation Status: Has declined in the eastern United States in recent decades due to habitat loss.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Lark Sparrow

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Lark Sparrow"

3) eNature.com: Lark Sparrow

Photo Information: July 3rd, 2005 -- Perry Nature Area east of Sioux Falls -- Terry Sohl

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

 

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Lark Sparrow - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common summer resident in the western part of the state, uncommon in the southeast.  Rare elsewhere.