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Grasshopper Sparrow - Ammodramus savannarum

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Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4B
* (see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
FWP Conservation Tier: 2
PIF: 2


 

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Copyright by Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, all rights reserved.
State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Although populations face some habitat loss, the estimated statewide population is large and population trends are stable to increasing.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 12/20/2011
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Population Size

    ScoreH - >1,000,000 individuals

    CommentRecent IMBCR data for 2010 estimates the statewide population at 4,494,627 +/- SD of 988,818.

    Range Extent

    ScoreG - 200,000-2,500,000 km squared (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)

    Comment380,531 square kilometers based on Natural Heritage Program range maps that appear on the Montana Field Guide.

    Area of Occupancy

    ScoreU - Unknown

    CommentUnknown.

    Long-term Trend

    ScoreD - Moderate Decline (decline of 25-50%)

    CommentGrassland and lower cover shrubland covertypes have been drastically reduced in Montana since European arrival.

    Short-term Trend

    ScoreE - Stable. Population, range, area occupied, and/or number or condition of occurrences unchanged or remaining within ±10% fluctuation

    CommentBBS data for Montana is of high credibility, but insignificant, and shows a +1.1% increase per year or 12% increase per decade. Most surrounding states and provinces show declines. Given insignificant nature of Montana's trend our short term trend may be most appropriately recognized as stable.

    Threats

    ScoreF - Widespread, low-severity threat. Threat is of low severity but affects (or would affect) most or a significant portion of the population or area.

    CommentHabitat loss, grazing, and mowing all represent threats to the species.

    SeverityLow - Low but nontrivial reduction of species population or reversible degradation or reduction of habitat in area affected, with recovery expected in 10-50 years.

    CommentGrassland cover structure can recover relatively quickly from grazing and fire and the species does use CRP.

    ScopeModerate - 20-60% of total population or area affected

    CommentOne threat or another is present across large portion (20-60%) of the landscape.

    ImmediacyModerate - Threat is likely to be operational within 2-5 years.

    CommentOngoing.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    ScoreC - Not Intrinsically Vulnerable. Species matures quickly, reproduces frequently, and/or has high fecundity such that populations recover quickly (< 5 years or 2 generations) from decreases in abundance; or species has high dispersal capability such that extirpated populations soon become reestablished through natural recolonization (unaided by humans).

    Comment

    Environmental Specificity

    ScoreC - Moderate. Generalist. Broad-scale or diverse (general) habitat(s) or other abiotic and/or biotic factors are used or required by the species but some key requirements are scarce in the generalized range of the species within the area of interest.

    CommentModerate generalist. Need moderately tall and dense grassland that can be patchy or continuous.

    Raw Conservation Status Score

    Score 3.5 + 0.5 (population size) + 0.0 (geographic distribution) + 0.0 (short-term trend) + 0.0 (threats) = 4.0
    How Scores are Calculated

 
General Description
A chunky sparrow with a short narrow tail, flat head, buffy breast and sides (adults usually without obvious streaking), dark crown with a pale central stripe, narrow white eye ring, and (in most adults) a yellow-orange spot in front of the eye; juveniles have pale buff breast and sides, streaked with brown; average length 13 cm.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Grasshopper Sparrows differ from many other sparrows by having both an unstreaked buffy breast (adults) and a short tail. They differ from Le Conte's Sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii) by lacking a buffy-orange eyebrow and blue-gray ear patch. Adults differ from juvenile Henslow's Sparrows (Ammodramus henslowii) by lacking a yellowish-olive central stripe on the crown. Juveniles lack the olive and russet tones of the otherwise similar adult Henslow's Sparrow.

General Distribution
Montana Range



Western Hemisphere Range


eBird Occurrence Map
 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 5077

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

Breeding
(direct evidence "B")


Breeding
(indirect evidence "b")


No evidence of Breeding
(transient "t")


Overwintering
(regular observations "W")


Overwintering
(at least one obs. "w")



 

(Records associated with a range of dates are excluded from time charts)



Habitat
Prefers open prairies with intermittent brush, although not particular to heavy brush cover.

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
  • Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
    How Associations Were Made
    We associated the use and habitat quality (high, medium, or low) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
    1. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2001, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
    2. Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species’ range and habitat requirements;
    3. Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point database associated with each ecological system;
    4. Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of “observations versus availability of habitat”.
    Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.  In general, species were associated as using an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.  However, species were not associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if point observations were associated with that system.  High, medium, and low habitat quality was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species in the literature.  The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignments of habitat quality.  If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact Bryce Maxell at bmaxell@mt.gov or (406) 444-3655.

    Suggested Uses and Limitations
    Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.  These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.  Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.  Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.  Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).  Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species’ known geographic range.

    Literature Cited
    • Adams, R.A.  2003.  Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation.  Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.  289 p.
    • Dobkin, D. S.  1992.  Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34.  Missoula, MT.
    • Foresman, K.R.  2001.  The wild mammals of Montana.  Special Publication No. 12.  Lawrence, KS: The American Society of Mammalogists.  278 p.
    • Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998.  Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates.  Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.  1302 p.
    • Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young.  1999.  Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32.  72 p.
    • Maxell, B.A.  2000.  Management of Montana’s amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species.  Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1.  Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.  161 p.
    • Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath.  2004.  Amphibians and reptiles of Montana.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.

Food Habits
In summer, diet consists of insects and grasshoppers. During winter, diet consists of grasses and seeds.

Reproductive Characteristics
Double brooded species with 4 to 5 eggs per brood. Incubation period 11 to 12 days. Young able to fly nine days after hatch.

References
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View WorldCat Record   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • American Ornithologists' Union. 1998. Check-list of North American birds. 7th edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. 829 pp.
    • Bock, C.E. and J.H. Bock. 1987. Avian habitat occupancy following fire in a Montana shrubsteppe. Prairie Nat. 19:153-158.
    • Casey, D. 2000. Partners in Flight Draft Bird Conservation Plan Montana. Version 1.0. 287 pp.
    • Dechant, J. A., M. L. Sondreal, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, C. M. Goldade, M. P. Nenneman, and B. R. Euliss. 2003d. Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Grasshopper Sparrow. Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND. Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
    • Decker Coal Co., 1981, Wildlife survey. July 7, 1981. In North Decker 5-Year Permit Application. Vol. III. Rule 26.4.304(12-14).
    • Dobkin, D. S. 1992. Neotropical migrant landbirds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. U.S.D.A. For. Serv. N. Region Publ. R1-93-34. Missoula, Mont.
    • Dobkin, D.S. 1994. Conservation and management of neotropical migrant landbirds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. Univ. Idaho Press, Moscow, Idaho. 220 pp.
    • Econ, Inc., Helena, MT., 1988, Wildlife monitoring report, 1987 field season, Big Sky Mine. March 1988. In Peabody Mining and Reclamation Plan Big Sky Mine Area B. Vol. 8, cont., Tab 10 - Wildlife Resources. Appendix 10-1, 1987 Annual Wildlife Report.
    • Ehrlich, P., D. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder’s handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Schuster Inc. New York. 785 pp.
    • Fjell, Alan K., and Brian R. Mahan., 1983, Peabody Coal Company Big Sky Mine, Rosebud County, MT. Wildlife monitoring report: 1982 field season. May 1983.
    • Fjell, Alan K., and Brian R. Mahan., 1985, Peabody Coal Company Big Sky Mine, Rosebud County, MT. Wildlife monitoring report: 1984 field season. February 1985.
    • Fjell, Alan K., and Brian R. Mahan., 1987, Big Sky Mine, Rosebud County, MT. Wildlife monitoring report: 1986 field season. April 1987.
    • Hutto, R. L. and J. S. Young. 1999. Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-32. U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and Rocky Mountain Research Station, Ogden, UT. 72 pp.
    • Johnsgard, P. A. 1992. Birds of the Rocky Mountains with particular reference to national parks in the northern Rocky Mountain region. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. xi + 504 pp.
    • Johnsgard, P.A. 1979. Birds of the Great Plains: breeding species and their distribution. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln. 539 pp.
    • Johnson, D.H. and M.D. Schwartz. 1993. The conservation reserve program and grassland birds. Conserv. Biol. 7:934-937.
    • Johnson, R.G., and S.A. Temple. 1990. Nest predation and brood parasitism of tallgrass prairie birds. Journal of Wildlife Management 54:106-111.
    • Land & Water Consulting, Inc., Missoula, MT., 2002, Montana Dept. of Transportation Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Report, Year 2001: Beaverhead Gateway, Dillon, Montana. Proj. No. 130091.011. July 2002. In 2001 Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Reports, Vol. I.
    • Land & Water Consulting, Inc., Missoula, MT., 2002, Montana Dept. of Transportation Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Report, Year 2002: Cow Coulee, Townsend, Montana. Proj. No. 130091.013. February 2003. In 2002 Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Reports, Vol. I.
    • Lenard, S., J. Carlson, J. Ellis, C. Jones, and C. Tilly. 2003. P. D. Skaar's Montana Bird Distribution, 6th Edition. Montana Audubon: Helena, MT, 144 pp.
    • Montana Bird Distribution Committee. 2012. P.D. Skaar's Montana bird distribution. 7th Edition. Montana Audubon, Helena, Montana. 208 pp. + foldout map.
    • Powder River Eagle Studies, Inc., Gillette, WY., 1995, Big Sky Mine 1994 wildlife monitoring studies. March 1995
    • Saab, V.A., C.E. Bock, T.D. Rich, and D.S. Dobkin. 1995. Livestock grazing effects in western North America. Pages 311-353 in T. E. Martin and D. M. Finch, eds. Ecology and Management of Neotropical Migratory Birds. Oxford Univ. Press, New York.
    • Stewart, R.E. 1975. Breeding birds of North Dakota. Tri-College Center for Environmental Studies, Fargo, North Dakota. 295 pp.
    • Thompson, Richard W., Western Resource Dev. Corp., Boulder, CO., 1996, Wildlife baseline report for the Montana [Montanore] Project, Lincoln and Sanders counties, Montana. In Application for a Hard Rock Operating Permit and Proposed Plan of Operation, Montanore Project, Lincoln and Sanders Counties, Montana. Vol. 5. Stroiazzo, John. Noranda Minerals Corp., Libby, MT. Revised September 1996.
    • U.S. Forest Service. 1991. Forest and rangeland birds of the United States: Natural history and habitat use. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Agricultural Handbook 688. 625 pages.
    • Urban, Larry, 2002, Biological Resources Report: Wagner Pit Wetland Restoration Site. Proj. No. STPX 56(50) CN 4645. February 23, 2002. In Wgner Pit WS#13 Upper Yellowstone, Yellowstone County. Fin. Dist. 5 AdminDist 5.
    • Vickery, P.D. 1996. Grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum). In A. Poole and F. Gill, eds. The birds of North America, No. 239. The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, DC.
    • Vickery, Peter D. 1996. Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum). Species Account Number 239. The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; Retrieved 3/25/2008 from The Birds of North America Online database
    • Waage, Bruce C., compiler., 1985, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Rosebud County, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1984 Field Season. October 1985.
    • Western Energy Co., Colstrip, MT., 1982, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Report, 1982.
    • Western Technology and Engineering, Inc. (WESTECH)., 1999, Wildlife Monitoring Absaloka Mine Area Annual Report, 1998. SMP 85005. OSMP Montana 0007E. April 1999.
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Citation for data on this website:
Grasshopper Sparrow — Ammodramus savannarum.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on August 20, 2014, from http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/detail_ABPBXA0020.aspx
 
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