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Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Passerellidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors needed...

This unassuming sparrow is a bit more shy and difficult to see than the Song Sparrow, which it is closely related to. The Lincoln’s Sparrow breeds on the edge of bogs and moist forest edges throughout the Boreal and mountain regions of North America; it is much more common in the West than in the east. In winter Lincoln’s Sparrows move south and into the lowlands, this sparrow is a stronger migrant than it is generally given credit for. In fact it is amongst the migratory sparrows which heads farthest south of any. It is regularly encountered in the Caribbean, it migrates south into Central America as far south as Panama, and there is even a single record from northern Venezuela! Emberizid sparrows of North America tend to be short or medium distance migrants, so the Lincoln’s is definitely a more adventurous migrant than its relatives. Lincoln’s Sparrows forage on the ground, looking for both seeds and arthropods. They prefer foraging beneath cover in relatively moist areas; they avoid grassland and prefer the shrubby edge of second growth or older forest. They may also be found in swampy situations where there is ample undergrowth or shrubbery to hide under.

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© Gerrit Vyn

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: