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Nelson's Sparrow - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow

Photo by Peacefrog2
Galveston, Texas, USA.
Ammospiza nelsoni

Ammodramus nelsoni


L. 5 in

  • Large, conical bill
  • Flat head
  • Short tail
  • Orange face and throat
  • Grey cheek
  • Crown and nape
  • Buff breast
  • Indistinct streaks on flanks
  • White belly and undertail coverts
  • Brown wing coverts

Similar Species

Saltmarsh Sparrow - please see references for good thread on identification features


Breeds in Canada and the northern United States, wintering to the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts.



This is a polytypic species[1], Consisting of three subspecies:

  • A. n. nelsoni:
  • A. n. altera:
  • A. n. subvirgatus:


Marshes and occasionally fields.



Nest is cup-shaped and made of dry grass, lined with finer grasses. It is built on the ground or just above the waterline in marshes. They nest from June through July, sometimes in loose colonies.


Includes seeds, insects, and small, aquatic invertebrates.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Birdforum thread discussing identification of Saltmarsh from Nelson's Sparrow

Recommended Citation

External Links

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