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Sprague's Pipit Anthus spragueii


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Sprague's Pipit
credit: Jerry Oldenettel /CCSA

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Family: Motacillidae, Wagtails and Pipits view all from this family

Description ADULT Has heavily streaked brown upperparts and two white wing bars. Dark eye is emphasized by pale buffy face; note the whitish throat, lores, and supercilium. Underparts are pale, flushed buff on flanks and breast and mostly unmarked, except for streaking on breast. Legs are pale pinkish. JUVENILE Similar to adult, but with more striking wing bars and scaly-looking back.

Dimensions Length: 6 1/4-7" (16-18 cm)

Habitat Rare and declining species, favoring short-grass prairies for nesting (present mainly May-Sep); winters from southern U.S. (mainly Texas) south to Mexico, and favors rough grassland with more bare ground at this time.

Observation Tips Striking white outer tail feathers (seen in flight) aid identification.

Range Plains, Southeast, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Western Canada, Texas

Voice Song is a descending series of breezy whistles; call is a thin squeet.

Discussion Prairie specialist. Secretive and far easier to hear (in spring at least) than to see: male performs aerial song display for long periods. Otherwise, skulks in short grasses and hard to flush. Does not bob tail. Sexes are similar.