Bachman's Sparrow

Peucaea aestivalis
A Bachman's Sparrow specimen on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

A medium-sized (5 ¾ inches) bunting, Bachman’s Sparrow is most easily identified by its streaked brown back, buff-gray breast, and reddish-brown head stripe. Other field marks include pale orange legs, a rounded tail, and a gray conical bill. Male and female Bachman’s Sparrows are similar to one another at all seasons. Bachman’s Sparrow breeds locally in the southeastern United States from Virginia and Missouri south to the Gulf Coast and central Florida. This species was formerly more widespread, breeding as far north as Ohio and Illinois prior to the 1920s. Populations at the northern edge of this species’ range are suspected to be migratory to some degree, but this is difficult to prove as Bachman’s Sparrow is secretive and difficult to find throughout its range during the winter. Bachman’s Sparrows breed in pine forests interspersed with grassy or shrubby clearings. This species is known to utilize similar habitats in winter as in summer. Bachman’s Sparrows primarily eat seeds and insects. In appropriate habitat, Bachman’s Sparrows may be observed running or walking on the ground underneath grasses and shrubs while foraging for food. Birdwatchers may also listen for this species’ song, a series of whistled and trilled notes. Bachman’s Sparrows are most active during the day.

DC Information

An uncommon species that has occurred here a number of times in summer but has rarely been found breeding. Seen mid-April to mid-August in abandoned fields and orchards. Sexes are similar.

Specimen Information

Here is information about the Bachman's Sparrow on exhibit.
Date:  4/20/1883
Collected By:  R Ridgway
Locality:  Wheatland, Knox Co, IN
Sex:  Male
Catalog ID:  90307

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalization

Sound from xeno-canto. XC51756 Peucaea aestivalis (Bachman's Sparrow)