Illustration from National Geographic's Field Guide to the Birds of North America
June 4, 1805, near the Marias River, Chouteau County, Montana.
Approximately the size of a sparrow. Breeding male streaked above, with black crown, whitish face, and black "mustache." Female and winter male duller and more streaked. Length: 5.8-6 in (15 cm).
Dry rattle; also a clear sweet warble given during a fluttering flight with wings raised high over back.
Breeds from Alberta and southwestern Manitoba south to Dakotas, Wyoming, and Colorado. Winters from Nebraska and Colorado southward.
This longspur nests in higher and more arid short-grass plains than does the chestnut-collared longspur, and so has been less affected by the plowing of the prairies. These birds so dislike moisture that in wet seasons they may abandon areas where normally they are abundant.