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Sprague’s Pipit

A small, ground-dwelling bird found in North America. It is a migratory bird, breeding in the northern Great Plains of the United States and Canada and wintering in the southern United States and northern Mexico.

The little-known Sprague’s Pipit breeds in northern prairies and winters in southern prairies, migrating by day between the two, usually alone. Sprague’s Pipits spend much of their time on the ground in relatively sparse vegetation, although males perform display flights that can last several hours without pause.

As with other grassland birds, Sprague’s Pipits have been faced with habitat loss, and they are less abundant in introduced vegetation than in native grasses. Woody encroachment resulting from fire suppression is also a threat to habitat on both breeding and wintering grounds.


Description of the Sprague’s Pipit


The Sprague’s Pipit has pale edgings on dark back feathers, whitish underparts with a buffy breast and dark breast streaking, a pinkish bill and legs, and a bold, white eye ring.

Spragues Pipit

Photograph © Greg Lavaty


Sexes similar.

Seasonal change in appearance



Juveniles have broader white wing bars.


Shortgrass prairies and other grasslands.


Insects and seeds.


Forages by walking.

Spragues Pipit

Photograph © Greg Lavaty


Breeds in the plains of the northwestern U.S. and southwestern Canada and winters in the south-central U.S. and Mexico.

Fun Facts

Flight displays are performed over a few weeks during the early breeding season.

Sprague’s Pipits are usually seen alone during the winter months.


The song consists of a descending series of musical notes, while the call is  a loud squeak, usually repeated.

Similar Species


The nest is a cup of grasses placed on the ground.

Number: 4-5.
Color: White with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:  
– Young hatch at 13-14 days.
– Young fledge (leave the nest) in 9-12 days after hatching but remain with the adults for some time.

Bent Life History of the Sprague’s Pipit

Published by the Smithsonian Institution between the 1920s and the 1950s, the Bent life history series of monographs provide an often colorful description of the birds of North America. Arthur Cleveland Bent was the lead author for the series. The Bent series is a great resource and often includes quotes from early American Ornithologists, including Audubon, Townsend, Wilson, Sutton and many others.

Bent Life History for the Sprague’s Pipit – the common name and sub-species reflect the nomenclature in use at the time the description was written.


Sprague’s pipit, or the Missouri skylark, was discovered by Audubon on the Upper Missouri and named for one of his companions, Isaac Sprague, who shot the first specimen near Fort Union on June 19, 1843. Audubon (1844) described and figured it near the end of his great work, and remarks: “On several occasions my friend Edward Harris sought for these birds on the ground, deceived by the sound of their music, appearing as if issuing from the prairies which they constantly inhabit; and after having traveled to many distant places on the prairie, we at last looked upwards, and there saw several of these beautiful creatures singing in a continuous manner, and soaring at such an elevation, as to render them more or less difficult to discover with the eye, and at times some of them actually disappearing from our sight, in the clear thin air of that country.”

Audubon’s type specimen remained unique until Captain Blakiston,

16 years later, found this species to be quite common on the plains of Saskatchewan and published an account of it in The Ibis for 1863.

One of his specimens and Audubon’s type were deposited in the Smithsonian Institution. These two specimens were the only ones known to Dr. Coues (1874) until he discovered it while on the survey of the international boundary in 1873, of which he wrote at that time: “It is one of the more abundant birds of all the region along the forty-ninth parallel of latitude, from just west of the Pembina Mountains to as far as the survey progressed this year: about four hundred miles; I had no difficulty in taking as many specimens as I desired. They were particularly numerous at various points along the Souris or Mouse River, where, during our marches or while we were encamped, they were almost continually hovering about us.”

The 1931 Check-list gives its breeding range as “from west-central Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba south to western Montana and North Dakota,” but it has been reported in recent years as breeding in some localities outside of this range. In 1942, A. P. Henderson told me that Sprague’s pipit was then “a rather scarce breeder at Belvedere,” Alberta. About the same time, Frank L. Parley, of Camrose, wrote to me: “This splendid aerial songster is a regular summer resident of the open prairies of central Alberta, and in recent years it has appeared in fair numbers in scattered parkland areas that have been cleared and brought under cultivation. It also delights in the open, short-grass plains that surround many of our alkaline lakes and sloughs. The most northerly point at which I have found this pipit was on the south side of Lesser Slave Lake, approximately in latitude 550 N., where a pair was undoubtedly nesting.”

Dr. Thomas S. Roberts (1932) states that Sprague’s pipit “was once a nesting bird in the southwestern and westcentral parts of Minnesota, but the breaking up of the prairies probably caused it to leave that region many years ago.” It is now probably restricted in that State to the Red River Valley, in the northern half of the western border. Dr. Roberts visited that valley in 1928 and says that “it was something of a surprise to find that Sprague’s Pipit was one of the common birds of the Valley, its tinkling song being heard high overhead everywhere.”

An interesting Michigan record is published by Trautman and Van Tyne (1935), who collected a singing male in Crawford County on June ’26, 1935: “On the three days it was observed the bird occupied a territory about a quarter of a mile square of barreut ‘jack pine plain,’ sparsely covered with coarse grasses, sweet fern, and a few small pine and oak saplings.”

This habitat, if I understand it correctly, seems to be quite different from the normal haunts of the species, such as the open prairies and the short-grass, rolling plains of Saskatchewan where we found it. Perhaps, with the gradmil breaking up and cultivation, as well as the extensive burning, of the virgin prairies, which is rapidly reducing tim ranges of all the prairie birds, Sprague’s pipit, like the upland plover, is learning to adapt itself to the next-best type of country, such as the above and the parkland areas mentioned by Mr. Parley. When I visited the prairies around Quill Lake, Saskatchewan, in 1915, I found that the grassy plains had been thoroughly burned over to improve them for grazing purposes; the long-billed curlew, formerly abundant there, had entirely disappeared, and the beautiful little chestnut-collared longspurs were nearly gone. The prairies and their fascinating bird life will soon be merely a delightful memory! Sprague’s pipit, therefore, is probably disappearing from most of its former habitat. William Youngworth, of Sioux City, Iowa, tells me that he spent a few days during the summer of 1939 near Cando, N. Dak., to learn something about this pipit. He says that, although Dr. Roberts (1932) found it so common in the Red River Valley a few years ago, it is not common any more. “One can drive now for hundreds of miles in North and South Dakota and never hear or see a pipit.”

Nesting: Frank L. Farley says in his notes: “For years I tried to find the nest of this bird by careful searching but was never successful. Later, however, I stumbled onto several nests by accident. A few years ago, when sitting in my car on the large open flat on my farm on Dried Meat Lake, my attention was directed to the songs of several of the pipits that xvere soaring and singing some hundreds of feet above me. It looked up and, just as my eye met one of them, the bird instantly started its downward plunge to earth. On reaching a point about 20 feet from the ground, its mate flew out to meet it. My suspicion that the female had just left its nest was correct as, on going over to where I had first seen it, I had no trouble in locating the nest with five eggs. It is quite probable that further investigation might prove that this meeting of the birds in the air just above their nest is a regular habit.”

Audubon (1844) was the first to discover the nest of Sprague’s Missouri lark, as he called it; the nest, he says, “is placed on the ground and somewhat sunk in it. It is made entirely of fine grasses, circularly arranged, without any lining whatever.”

Dr. J. A. Allen (1874) seems to have been the next to find the nest, of which he says: “The only one found by me was arched over, and being placed in a tuft of rank grass was most thoroughly concealed. The bird would seem to be a close sitter, as in this case the female remained on the nest till I actually stepped over it, she brushing against my feet as she flew off.”

Several others have described the simple nests of Sprague’s pipit, but the nests are not essentially different from those described above. The most elaborate account of the nesting life of this pipit is furnished by R. D. Harris (1933), xvho found a nest near Winnipeg, Manitoba, on August 24, 1931, after the young had hatched. The nest was placed on the shoulder of a grass-grown roadway across a pasture field, in a hollow made in muddy weather by passing cattle. Mr. Harris writes: In a cavity thus formed the nest was placed. Being six inches deep and six inches in diameter, the cavity was much too large for the purpose. The birds had met the situation, however, by filling in the unwanted space to a depth of three inches with dead grass, thus forming a kind of platform beside the nest which undoubtedly was found useful during nesting operations. The nest proper was composed of dried grasses two to six inches long. Unlike the filling, it was packed and woven into a firm structure. The rim was placed level with the filling three inches from the bottom, arid the interior measured (after the young had left) three inches in diameter and about one and one half inches deep. It occupied the position farthest from the entrance, with one side resting against the earth wall of the cavity. Overhead, the nest was shielded by a frail roof of dead grass anchored in the plants that stood at the edge of the depression. The entrance hole was barely more than two inches in diameter, and as the grnss filling was interposed between it and the nest, the latter could he seen only from a very low angle. This arrangement thus aided concealment.

Eggs: The set of eggs seems to consist generally of either four or five; rarely a set of six is laid; reported sets of three are probably incomplete. The five eggs found by Dr. Allen (1874) “were rather long and pointed, being 0.90 of an inch in length by 0.60 in diameter. The ground color is dull grayish white, thickly and quite uniformly covered with shall blotches of purplish brown, giving to the eggs a decidedly dark purplish tint. In color the eggs t.hus somewhat resemble those of Aiithws ludovicianus.”

The Macouns (1909) quote Walter Raine as saying that “they are something like eggs of the prairie horned lark but are smaller. Some have a pale buff ground, others greyish-white ground, minutely speckled with buff and purplish grey. The eggs can be easily told from small prairie horned lark’s eggs by the fine dark brown lines at the largest end of the eggs.”

There is a set of four eggs in the Thayer collection in Cambridge. These are ovate and only slightly glossy; the ground color is grayish white; and they are evenly sl)rinkled over the entire surface with small spots and fine dots of pale olive-brown.

The measurements of 44 eggs average 20.9 by 15.3 millimeters; the cggs showing the four extremes measure 22.6 by 15.7, 21.0 by 16.7, 19.2 by 14.0, and 20.5 by 13.5 millimeters.

Young: The incubation period for Sprague’s pipit does not seem to have been learned. Mr. Harris (1933) found that the female did all the brooding over the young; probably she assumed all the duties of incubation also. The young that he watched remained in the nest for at least 10 or 11 days:

The work of caring for the young in the nest appeared to be assumed entirely by the female. The male was never observed to take part in it. Indeed, the male was detected near the nest only twice, and en both these occasions the female drove it away. The male had ceased its singing rather abruptly about the beginning of August, and was not heard during the course of this nesting. On August 24, the day the nest was found, it was seen with one well-grown young bird, which was presumed to be of the first brood. From this it was concluded that, as in many other species, the male takes charge of the young after they leave the nest while the female proceeds to build another nest and lny the next set of eggs. The young birds of the first nest were noted with the male as late as August 28, but they were doubtless independent of their parents by that time.

The day after the nest was found, Mr. Harris set up his blind 2½ feet from the nest, and the next day lie entered it for observation. The bird was shy at first but soon became accustomed to the blind and even the man in it. The birds were supposed to have hatched on or about August 20 or 21 and xvere watched off and on up to the time that they left the nest on the 31st. The results of his observations on the development of the young are given in too much detail to be included here; only a few points can be mentioned. When the nest was found, on the 24th, be estimated that the young were 3 or 4 days old; their eyelids were separated but incapable of movement; they kept huddled together in the nest and the sense of fear had not developed; a small wingless grasshopper was fed to one of them.

On the 26th, when the blind was occupied for the first time, one of the parents “kept arriving at the nest with food at an average rate of once every four and a half minutes throughout the three hours that I remained in the blind. This bird was presumed to be the female. The other one could be heard circling overhead, uttering the typical pipit ‘squi-qui-quicle’, for fifteen minutes after Iliad entered the blind, thereafter it was silent.”

On the 26th, when the young had been hatchcd 5 or 6 days, “down was becoming scanty, and the juvenal plumage was quickly supplanting it. * * * The parent did not brood either on this occasion or at later times. * * * The parent maintained sanitation in the nest by carrying away the faeces in its bill and probably dropping them while iii flight. If, however, there were two sacs in the nest at once, one was eaten and the other was carried away. Small sacs were usually eaten.” On August 27 and 28, “heavy rains fell, accompanied by strong wind and low temperatures. When examined on the latter day, the birds appeared unharmed by the severe drenching they had received. Their eyes at this date were fully open.” During the next two days, the young becanie increasingly more active and restless; and on the 31st the young left the nest. Three had already left when Mr. Harris entered the blind at 10 A. M.; dun ug the next two hours, the parent came without food several times, as if trying to entice the remaining two young to leave.

Finally, at 12.18, one of the two suddenly scrambled out of the nest and crawled away into the grass, boring forward with its bill and picking its way round the thick clumps. After progressing for about three feet, it squatted down to rest. Here the adult, with a grasshopper in its bill, came upon it and fed it. The young one then moved on for another two feet before resting again. At this point the remaining bird left the nest, arid the two were now caught and examined for the last time. * * * The young birds were now very active, and they seized in a flash any opportunity to escape. Although they exerted a remarkable strength at times, they soon became exhausted and were forced to rest frequently. They had as yet found no use for their wings, save as additional limbs with which to balance themselves. Even when the birds escaped from my hand and dropped to the ground, their wings hung limp at their sides. Legs and feet were strong, but the birds could not yet stand upright. * * * Once the young were out of the nest, the adults changed their attitude completely, reverting to their former secretive habits. They were now almost wholly silent. All flying necessary in the care of the young was done unobtrusively low over the grass. * * * Although the area round the nest ~vas searched diligently, it was not until September 10 that the young birds were again seen. On thnt date, two of them were hushed from the grass about 100 feet from the nest. One flew for some 200 feet, and the other for 100 feet, before they returned to the ground. A faint sqaicA~’ was uttered by one of them. They had grown amazingly, and were comparable in size and actions to their parents.

Plumages: Mr. Harris (1933) describes the natal down as “light grey in colour, long and dense; on head, 3 to 10 mm. long, beginning in two rows close together on forehead but diverging gradually to pass over tops of eyeballs; on occiput, in two small clumps 10 mm. long, one on each side; about 10 mm. on scapular region, between elbow and wrist, and on spinal tract: two short clumps on crural tract; one tuft on each side of caudal tract.” At the time of nestleaving, down was still “remaining only on sides of crown, on back and on secondary coverts.” He gives a detailed account of the juvenal plumage at this age, to which the reader is referred. The following briefer description by Ridgway (1904) seems more suitable for this work: “Pileum broadly streaked with black and pale buff, the former predominating; scapulars and interscal)ulars black edged with buff and conspicuously margined terminally with white; rump similarly marked, but terminal margins to feathers buff instead of white; wings and tail as in adults, but whitish or pale buffy terminal margins to middle and greater wing-coverts broader and more sharply defined; under parts as in adults, but white of chin and throat more strongly contrasted with the pale buff or chest, etc.”

A postjuvenal molt, involving the contour plumage but not the wings or the tail, occurs in August and Septelnber. This produces a firstwinter plumage practically indistinguishable from the winter plumage of the adult. The winter plumage of both young and old birds is more strongly tinged with buff everywhere than is tbe spring plumage; the breast, sides, and flanks, especially, are strongly suffused with deep, rich buff in fall. March specimens are generally in badly worn plumage, and April birds show much fresh plumage about the head and breast, indicating a partial prenuptial molt. The complete postnuptial molt occurs in August and September. The sexes are alike in all plumages.

Food: Very little seems to have been published on the food of Sprague’s pipit. Dr. Gabrielson (1924) examined 11 stomachs and found that 2 were filled with seeds of spurge and goatweed; 6 contained grasshoppers and crickets, 75 percent; and the remainder of the food consisted of Hymenoptera, mostly ants, Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and caterpillars. Mrs. Nice (1931) mentions weevils, stink bugs, and false chinch bugs.

During a period of 8 hours Mr. Harris (1933) saw the parent bird make 91 trips to the nest with food for the young. In 21 cases the food was not identified; of the remaining 70 trips, 7 were made with crickets, 4 with moths, and 59 with grasshoppers. “Crickets and moths were brought one at a time, while grasshoppers were brought at an average rate of 1.58 per trip.”

Behavior: Sprague’s pipit is a fascinating but very elusive bird. We overlooked it in North Dakota and during our first season in Saskatchewan, probably because we did not know where and how to look for it or realize the difficulty of seeing or even hearing it. But, on the plains of southwestern Saskatchewan, thanks to Dr. Bishop’s keen ears, we found it really quite common in 1906, though more frequently heard than seen. The males spend much of their time way up in the sky, almost out of sight; it is only occasionally that one can be seen, as a mere speck against some white cloud; against the blue sky it is almost invisible. When it comes down to the ground, as it does at long intervals, it is very shy and difficult to approach, flying off to a great distance in long, bounding, erratic flights. We succeeded in collecting very few birds, although we spent considerable time in fruitless chasing. I secured only one, shot on the wing at long range.

Dr. Roberts (1932) says of its behavior:

Sprague’s Pipit is a bird that may easily be overlooked. It should be looked for high overhead rather than on the ground. In the nesting-season the characteristic song of the male, floating down from far up in the sky, is the surest indication of its presence. The performer may not be easy to locate, but the song can belong to no other bird. On the ground it disappears completely in the prairie grass, walks or runs nimbly away without showing itself and, if flushed, flies quickly off, appearing much like a Vesper Sparrow. When It springs into the air and mounts higher and higher in ascending circles to deliver its nuptial song and then plunges directly to earth again, it may be mistaken for a Horned Lark by the casual observer. The performance is just the same, but the bird usually goes higher, stays up much longer, and the song is different. A good glass may show the large amount of white in the tail and the absence of black markings on the head and breast. If a glimpse be had of the bird after it alights on the ground, it will be seen to walk in the manner of ihe Horned Lark but with a more dainty, lighter step. The ordinary flight of the Pipit is sharply undulatory and erratic, a series of dips and upward springs, now this way and now that. When startled from the grass it goes off in this manner and at the end of the flight turns suddenly back~vard in its course and drops abruptly to concealment again. It rarely, if ever, alights except on the ground. Its behavior in these respects is characteristic enough to distinguish it among the other prairie birds with which it is associated.

As to its behavior about tile nest, Mr. Harris (1933) discovered that: the female used a definite route in catering and in departing from the nest. After securing food from an adjoining patch of open grass, it would fly low over the ground directly to about six feet north-west of the nest. Here it would alight and walk along a curving path to enter the nest finally from the south. On leaving, the bird would stand for a few moments on the edge of the depression to watch and listen. Thea it would move directly west for ahout two feet: crossing its path of approach: and again pause at another ‘listening post.” From here it would mount into the air and fly off in search of more food. The path used was always the same, and once known, it could just he discerned because of Its slightly trodden appearance. Rarely did the bird depart from the nest without first standing for several minutes at both “listening posts.” At these times, the bird’s ear coverts were frequently seen to be raised slightly, showing how keenly alert it was. Preening occasionally took place at these intervals also.

Dr. Coues (1874) writes:

In August, after all the broods are on the wing, and through September, 1 have seen it In considerable flocks; and often, when riding along the prairie road, numbers would fly up at my approach, from the ruts ahead, where they were feeding, to settle again at a little distance further on. These wheel tracks, where the grass was worn away, seemed to be their favorite resorts, where they could run with the greatest ease, and perhaps gather food less easily discovered in the thick grass. They tripped along the tracks with swift and dainty steps, never hopping, and continually vihrating the tail, just like our common Titlark. They were usually associated at such times with numbers of Chestnut-colored Lark-huatings, which seemed to fancy the same places, and with a few Baird’s Buntings. These were the only circumstances under which the Larks could be procured without the great quickness and dexterity required to take them on the xving; for the moment they alight in the grass of the prairie, be it scanty or only a few inches high, they are lost to view, their speckled-gray colors blending completely with the herbage.

Voice: The marvelous flight song of Sprague’s pipit has been referred to above. It is one of its most striking characteristics and quite different from the flight songs of other birds. Aretas A. Saunders says, in part, in his notes: “As it flies around, its flight rises and falls. Each time it rises the bird sings; when it falls, he is silent. So the song is heard at intervals as the bird flies about its circle. The song consists of a series of 2-note phrases, each phrase with the first note of the two higher in pitch and each phrase beginning on a little lower pitch than the previous one. I once measured the drop in pitch of a particular singer and found that it was half a tone less than an octave and that the bird sang seven 2-note phrases. But, knowing the amount of variation that exists in the songs of most species, I would not be sure that this song was typical. The song is clear, sweet, and musical but, perhaps because of the distance, sounds rather weak. In some localities choruses of these birds may be heard and, to the lover of bird music, the effect is exceedingly pleasing.~~ Dr. Roberts (1932) gives a very good description of the song, quoted from some notes of 11. W. Gleason, as follows:

At first could be beard three or four sharp “chips” with very decided intervals, followed by a musical repetition of blended, very high-pitched notes souading like the jingling of a set of tiny sleigh-bells. The accented notes came in regular beats or throbs and gradually diminished in volume until lost to the ear, resembling a very high, fine Veery song but lacking the inflection and given a little slower. The birds being at such a great elevation while singing made it difficult to determine the coordination of the song and flight. It seemed, however, to begin during a short sail on set wings, followed by an ascent in short flights like the Horned Lark, during which came the throbbing part of the song. During the sail the tail was snread and the wings upcurved like those of a singing Bobolink. The song was repeated at short intervals for a period of 15 to 25 minutes as the bird drifted around in wide circles. At the end it descended like a plummet, spreading its wings when almost to the ground and alighting like a Horned Lark. With the aid of a crude triangle and an assistant several rough estimates were made of the height at which the bird sang, which varied from 210 to 325 feet, with a minimum record of 110 feet during a misty rain. It would appear that the average singing height is about 300 feet.

Dr. Allen (1874) says: “Their notes resemble the syllables jingle, jingle, jingle, jingle, rapidly repeated, beginning loud and high, and decreasing rapidly in strength and loudness, and are remarkable for their clear metallic ring, their song reminding one of the jingling sound of a light chain when slowly let fall into a coil.”

Dr. Coues (1874) gives the following appreciation of the song: “No other bird music beard in our land compares with the wonderful strains of this songster; there is something not of earth in the melody, coming from above, yet from no visible source. The notes are simply indescribable; but once heard they can never be forgotten. Their volume and penetration are truly wonderful; they are neither loud nor strong, yet the whole air seems filled with the tender strains, and delightful melody continues long unbroken. The song is only heard for a brief period in the summer, ceasing when the inspiration of the love season is over, and it is only uttered when the birds are soaring.”

Ernest Thompson Seton (1891) writes:

On May 14, I watched a skylark that was singing on high with great devotion; he had trilled his refrain from beginning to end at least twenty times when it occurred to me to time and count his songs. The whole of each trilling occupied 15 seconds, and after I began to count he repeated it from beginning to end 82 times; just as he should have entered on the eighty-third, his wings closed, his tail went up, and down he fell headlong. * * * This singer had serenaded me for about an hour, and I do not think he ranked above his fellows in staying po~ver. * * * When the skylark feels the impulse to sing, he rises from the bare prairie ridge with a peculiar bounding flight, like that of the pipit; up, in silence, higher and higher he goes, up, up, 100, 200, 300, 500 feet; then, feeling his spirits correspondingly elevated, he spreads his wings and tail and pours forth the strains that are making him famous. * * * Once only have I observed this species singing his full song on the ground.

Singing on the ground is evidently seldom indulged in by Sprague’s pipit; most observers have never heard it do so; but Trautman and Van Tyne (1935) “on several occasions” in Michigan heard this pipit “sing from the ground and once” they “watched it sing from the top of a small telephone pole. These songs, while identical in pattern with the flight songs, were much less loud and clear.”

Field marks: Sprague’s pipit is not easily recognized. Its shyness and its secretive habits when on the ground make it difficult to approach. It has no distinctive and conspicuous field marks except its two pairs of white outer tail feathers, which show only in flight and are shared by some other birds with which it is likely to be associated. It is often associated with vesper sparrows, which have about the same amount of .white in the tail; the pipit is a slender bird with a sharp-pointed bill, and it walks or runs; whereas the sparrow is a stockier bird, has a short, conical bill, and it hops instead of walking. The horned lark, one of its frequent companions, also walks, but it has less white in the tail, is not so slender, and has conspicuous black markings on head and breast. The horned lark has a somewhat similar flight song, but, with a good glass, its head and breast markings can be seen. Sprague’s pipit closely resembles the American pipit in form and behavior, but it is lighter in coloration and more buffy, less grayish.

Fall: After the breeding season is over and the young are strong on the wing, these pipits gather into flocks, sometimes of immense size, mingled with horned larks and longspurs, and drift slowly southward to spend the winter close to our southern border, or farther south in Mexico.

Range: Interior of North America from southern Canada to southern Mexico.

Breeding range: Sprague’s pipit breeds north to central Alberta (Edmonton and Athabaska) ; central Saskatchewan (Prince Albert and Quill Lake); and southern Manitoba (Aweme, Shoal Lake, and Hillside Beach on southern Lake Winnipeg). East to southeastern Manitoba (Hillside Beach and Winnipeg) ; and western Minnesota (Muskoda and northern Wilkin County). South to central western Minnesota (northern Wilkin County) ; northern South Dakota (Grand River Agency, nort.hern Stanley County, and Harding County) and central Montana (Lewistown and the Belt Mountains). West to western Montana east of the Rocky Mountains (Belt Mountains, Great Falls, Teton County, and Browning); and west-central Alberta (Red Deer River east of Banif National Park and Edmonton).

Winter range: Sprague’s pipit winters north to central Texas (San Angelo, Dallas, and Corsicana); southern Louisiana (Lobdell and Mandeville); and southern Mississippi (Biloxi). South to southern Mississippi (Biloxi); southern Louisiana (New Orleans, Avery Island, and Jennings); southern Texas (Galveston, Port O’Connor, Corpus Christi, and Brownsville); through eastern Mexico to Vera cruz (Veracruz), Puebla (Puebla), and Guerrero (Iguala). West to Guerrero (Iguala) ; Michoac~n (La Salada); and central Texas (Laredo and San Angelo). In fall and winter it has also oc curred near Charleston, S. C.; Cuniberland Island, Ga.; and Lake Miccosukee, Lukens, Lake Tohopekaliga, and Charlotte Harbor, Fla.

Migration: Late dates of spring departure are: Louisiana: New Orleans, April 19. Texas: Gainesville, April 14. Kansas: Stockton, April 26. Nebraska: Lincoln, April 26.

Early dates of spring arrival are: Oklahoma: Caddo, February 18. Missouri: Kansas City, March 20. South Dakota: Vermillion, April 14. North Dakota: Jamestown, April 29. Minnesota: Muskoda, April 27. Manitoba: Aweme, April 8. Wyoming: Laramie, April 17. Montana: Great Falls, April 23. Saskatchewan: Eastend, April 7. Alberta: Alliance, May 2.

Late dates of fall departure are: Alberta: Edmonton, September 30. Saskatchewan: Eastend, October 10. Montana: Fallon, September 19. Wyoming: Laramie, September 20. Manitoba: Margaret, October 20. South Dakota: Forestburg, October 30.

Early dates of fall arrival are: Nebraska: Monroe Canyon, Sioux County, October 1. Oklahoma: Kenton, October 2. Texas: High Island, October 31. Louisiana: Lobdell, November 5.

Casual records: On April 4, 1905, a specimen was collected at Fort Lowell, Ariz.; it was recorded in Yellowstone Park, Wyo., on July 10, 1929. One was present June 21 to 26, 1935, near Lovells, Crawford County, Mich., and was collected on the latter (late.

Egg dates: North Dakota: 3 records, June 7 to 30. Saskatchewan: 5 records, May 19 to June 28.

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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