Smith's Longspur: Medium sparrow, yellow-brown streaked upperparts, black head with white eyebrow and ear patch, and yellow-brown nape, throat, and underparts. Wings have large white bars. Tail is black with white edges. Yellow-brown legs and feet. Feeds on seeds, spiders, and insects.
Range and Habitat
Smith's Longspur: Breeds from northern Alaska across northern Canada to Hudson Bay. Spends winters from Nebraska south to Texas. Breeds on dry, hummocky areas of Arctic tundra, sometimes near forest edges. Spends winters on open fields.
Audubon named the Smith's Longspur after his friend Gideon B. Smith. Longspur refers to the elongated claw of the hind toe.
Males are not territorial, but instead compete for fertilizations by copulating with females frequently in order to dilute or displace sperm from other males.
Over a period of one week in June, a female will copulate over 350 times on average; this is one of the highest copulation rates of any bird.
A group of longspurs are collectively known as a "drive" of longspurs.
The Smith's Longspur has a large range, estimated globally at 710,000 square kilometers. Native to the United States and Canada, this bird prefers grassland, wetland, and shrubland ecosystems, though it can also live on arable land. The global population of this bird is estimated at 75,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of Smith's Longspur is Least Concern.