Their name refers to the Lapland region of Scandinavia, which is partly in Sweden and partly in Finland. For some reason, despite its overall abundance, this bird does not often make it to the Vineyard. Breeding males have a bold black face bordered by a swooping yellow-white line and a rich rufous patch on the back of the neck. Not unusual for this species, the bird was amazingly tame, far more interested in stripping seeds off crabgrass stalks than in paying attention to me. Longspurs and Snow Buntings(Order: Passeriformes, Family:Calcariidae). The Lapland Longspur with which most birders in North America are familiar is a small, streaky thing, but during the breeding season they are spectacular. Small sparrowlike bird. Its behavior was surprisingly mouselike: It crouched low to the ground as it scurried along, plunging through and sometimes even under the bent-over grass. Lapland Longspurs are busy. Larger than an American Goldfinch, smaller than an American Robin. The name “longspur” refers to the unusually long hind claw on this species and others in its genus. During summer, they eat an estimated 3,000 to 10,000 seeds and insects per day, plus feed their nestlings an additional 3,000 insects per day. Observers who have written about this bird report that it often nests at very high density in this range. Winters in open habitats including used agricultural fields, turf farms, and coastal dunes. So this is not a species I can give you clear instructions on how to find. The login page will open in a new tab. Wings relatively long. Please log in again. Chunky bird with a stout bill. Flushed birds often fly quite high and settle far from their original position. First-year female Lapland longspur bird in Katama. The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. See more images of this species in Macaulay Library. Chunky sparrowlike bird. In all plumages, the tail is dark with white outer tail feathers. Breeds in arctic tundra. Snow cover often makes the birds easier to find, but scanning large, open fields for any sort of movement on the ground, or waiting for the birds to flush in tight, whirling flocks before resettling, can often be successful. Breeding males have a black hood, rusty nape, and yellow bill. Lapland Longspurs breed in tundra habitats across the arctic. The deep black masks and chestnut napes of the males, only slightly more subdued in females, make the Lapland Longspur difficult to mistake for any other species—a far cry from their nondescript winter garb. Feather Metadata. The vast majority of North American birders encounter Lapland Longspurs in the winter months, when the birds filter down into southern Canada and the northern United States. The bird was on the dirt track that runs across the main pasture at Katama Farm, where it was feeding on grass seeds. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. But if you put in your time in the field in late autumn and scrutinize flocks of open-country birds, you may eventually catch up with this unusual visitor from the far north. It is an open cup made from coarse sedge, lined with fine sedge and grass, feathers, or hair. Longspurs and Snow Buntings(Order: Passeriformes, Family:Calcariidae). While pure longspur flocks do occur here, much more typical is finding a longspur or two mixed in with a flock of one of those other open-land species. In our region, this generally means beaches and dunes, farm fields, or pastures. Some winter flocks of Lapland Longspurs have been estimated to contain 4 million birds. Similar looking birds to Lapland Longspur: Chestnut-collared Longspur Breeding male, Chestnut-collared Longspur Nonbreeding, Smith's Longspur Breeding male, Smith's Longspur Nonbreeding, McCown's Longspur Breeding male, McCown's Longspur Female, Vesper Sparrow Adult/immature, Horned Lark Female Despite being one of the most abundant breeding songbirds in North America, the Lapland Longspur is remarkably easy to overlook. Females are similar but lack the extensive black. Look for them on fallow agricultural fields, often with bare ground or sparse stubble, where they form large flocks along with American Pipits, Horned Larks, and Vesper and Savannah Sparrows. Nonbreeding birds have warm brown patches on cheeks, crown, sides of neck. Its range encircles the northern reaches of the Northern Hemisphere and it’s a common breeding bird in Eurasia, where it’s known as Lapland Bunting. In addition to the usual suspects, I was lucky to come across one of my favorite birds: a ground-hugging, sparrow-like critter called the Lapland longspur (“Longspur” because this species sports a very long hind toe, an adaptation to walking on the ground). Lapland Longspur - Calcarius lapponicus - Adult - Female Scan ID: 61034 . Description: A Steller's jay perches on a branch. Found throughout the Arctic zones of Europe, Asia, and North America in summer, this is one of the most abundant breeding birds of the far North. Chunky grassland bird with a stout bill. In mild winters, longspurs may hang around for the Christmas Bird Count, and even into January or February; spring sightings occur regularly in Massachusetts, but are decidedly unusual on the Island. The nest, built by the female, is on the ground, usually by a small hummock of sedge, grass, or moss. The female incubates the 4 to 6 eggs alone for 10 to 14 days. Nonbreeding birds are streaked above with a black border around the ear, streaked flanks, and a dark often smudgy breast band. Presumably a good portion of the population meanders south of our latitude during the winter, then heads north on a more direct route toward the breeding grounds, usually bypassing the Island.


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