Lark Sparrow
(Chondestes grammacus)

Summary

Picture of bird
© Chuck Kling
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

Primarily a species of the central United States, the breeding range of the Lark Sparrow reaches Canada only in the extreme southern Prairies and British Columbia, where it breeds in open shrub and grassland habitats. Data from the Breeding Bird Survey indicate that the Canadian population has shown a large increase since about 1970, while the larger population in the United States has decreased. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.

Designations

Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLarge IncreaseHighAt an Acceptable Level
 

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada5,000 - 50,000 adults
 

Distribution maps

 

Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery Low

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between mid-May and late May and ends in late July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.
 

Conservation and management

With increasing numbers in Canada, there are no major conservation concerns for this species. The Lark Sparrow has benefited from forest clearing in the eastern portion of its range in the United States and is thought to be more common today than before the settlement period of North America (Martin and Parrish 2000). Increases may also be due to fire suppression and the expansion of shrub/parkland habitat. Recent declines in the United States are likely due to the reversion of agricultural land back to forested land, loss of habitat through urban expansion, and grasshopper control programs, which reduce a preferred food item of the species (Martin and Parrish 2000).

 

Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Great BasinGreat Basin, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Conservation
Northern RockiesNorthern Rockies, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Other
 

References