Sexually dimorphic in breeding (Alternate) plumage; sexes similar in winter (Basic) plumage. In breeding plumage, both sexes have upperparts blackish streaked with buff and rufous nape and greater-coverts. Underparts whitish with black streaking on flanks, and dark tail with outermost feather white. In the male, nape is bright rufous orange; crown, lores, ear-coverts, chin, throat, and upper breast black, forming a distinctive facial mask. Females relatively nondescript without black facial mask and with remaining colors duller. Center of chin and throat white. In winter, both sexes and all ages are much like summer females, but tend to be browner and paler.
For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.
Western Hemisphere Range
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In the Bozeman area, normal migration periods are October 20 to December 15 and March 1 to April 15, with a peak on March 20.
Species found in open areas, such as fields, pastures, and tundra. Species found on ground; rarely perches.
Diet consists of seeds, grasses and invertebrates.
Single brooded species with four to six eggs per brood. Incubation period 12 to 13 days. Young able to fly eight to ten days after hatch.