One of the most poorly known of North America’s grassland birds, Le Conte’s sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii) is notoriously difficult to study due to its secretive behaviour and cryptic plumage. This elusive species usually stays hidden in dense grass, skulking about on the ground, and dives into vegetation when disturbed rather than taking flight (2) (3) (4).
Le Conte’s sparrow is a small, chunky bird with short, rounded wings and a broad bill (2). The tail is almost as long as the wings and has extremely narrow and pointed feathers (3). This species has a buffy-orange face and chest, with black streaks along the sides and flanks and occasionally across the chest. The crown has a white stripe, and there is a pinkish patch at the back of the head, streaked with chestnut (2). There is also a bright buff eyebrow stripe, and the plumage is edged with white (3). The juvenile Le Conte’s sparrow is similar to the adult, but is buffier, with less distinct markings (2).
- Length: 12 cm (2)
- Wingspan: 18 cm (2)
- 12 - 16 g (2)