Chestnut-collared Longspur: Small, sparrow-like bird with brown-streaked upperparts, black breast and flanks, some have chestnut on underparts, pale gray belly. Face is buff with black stripe behind eye. Nape is chestnut-brown, crown is black, and throat is white. Tail is black with strongly contrasting white outer tail feathers.
Range and Habitat
Chestnut-collared Longspur: Breeds from Alberta and Manitoba south to Minnesota and Wyoming. Spends winters from Colorado and Kansas south to Texas and northern Mexico. Dry elevated prairies and short-grass plains are preferred habitats.
The Chestnut-collared Longspur bred historically at sites recently grazed by bison or disturbed by fire. Even today, it avoids nesting in areas protected from grazing, preferring pastures and mowed areas such as airstrips, as well as grazed native prairie habitats.
The male displays by flying into the air, circling and fluttering, then singing in descent with tail spread wide; he will often repeat this performance several times without landing.
The name Longspur refers to the elongated claw of the hind toe.
A group of longspurs are collectively known as a "drive" of longspurs.
The Chestnut-collared Longspur is currently rated as Near Threatened. This bird prefers the north central region of the United States and central Canada. The Chestnut-collared Longspur migrates to Mexico and southern portions of the United States during winter. The Chestnut-collared Longspur tends to travel in flocks. The primary reason that this bird is currently rated as Near Threatened is loss of habitat, which has become fairly common with many prairie birds.