SPECIES

Seaside Sparrow Ammospiza maritima Scientific name definitions

Jon S. Greenlaw, W. Gregory Shriver, and William Post
Version: 2.0 — Published July 1, 2022

Tables and Appendices

Table 1

Linear measurements (mm) with mean (SD, n, range) of Seaside Sparrows from 7 populations.

A. m. maritima (New York, Connecticut)A. m. macgillivraii (South Carolina)A. m. nigrescens (Florida)A. m. peninsulae (Florida)A. m. fisheri (Texas)A. m. sennetti (Texas)
Wing
Male63.7 (2.0, 30, 60.0–67.0)62.2 (1.4, 7, 60.0–64.5)58.2 (0.9, 12, 57.0–60.0)61.1 (3.0, 15, 57.0–64.5)61.1 (0.9, 10, 60.0–62.5)59.0 (1.7, 10, 57.0–61.0)
Female59.4 (1.5, 24, 57.0–61.5)58.7 (1.3, 12, 57.0–61.0)55.9 (0.9, 11, 55.0–57.5)57.9 (1.6, 8, 56.5–60.0)59.2 (1.7, 10, 57.0–62.0)58.4 (1.7, 10, 55.5–60.5)
Tail
Male52.2 (2.6, 18, 49.0–57.0)54.5 (2.9, 11, 50.0–58.5)49.0 (1.3, 10, 47.0–51.0)53.8 (1.6, 8, 51.0–55.0)53.0 (3)49.6 (2.4, 5)
Female50.2 (1.3, 10, 49.0–56.0)51.8 (2.5, 20, 46.8–57.8)47.4 (1.7, 9, 45.0–51.0)52.0 (2.3, 8, 49.0–53.0)
Tarsus
Male22.1 (0.5, 20, 20.5–22.5)22.7 (0.9, 12, 21.2–24.3)21.0 (0.8, 10, 20.0–20.5)21.5 (0.6, 8, 21.0–22.5)21.5 (3)20.2 (0.2, 10)
Female22.8 (0.6, 14, 21.0–23.0)21.8 (0.9, 20, 19.7–23.4)20.5 (0.5, 7, 20.0–21.5)21.1 (0.4, 8, 20.5–21.5)
Bill Length
Male11.1 (0.4, 30, 10.1–11.9)11.2 (0.4, 12, 10.2–11.7)10.3 (0.3, 12, 9.9–10.8)10.8 (0.4, 15, 10.2–11.3)10.9 (0.4, 10, 10.7–11.7)10.5 (0.4, 10, 9.8–10.8)
Female10.9 (0.3, 24, 10.1–11.3)11.0 (0.5, 19, 10.2–11.9)10.1 (0.3, 11, 9.5–10.5)10.6 (0.5, 12, 9.8–11.3)10.8 (0.4, 10, 10.5–11.6)10.7 (0.6, 10, 10.1–11.8)
Bill Width
Male4.9 (0.2, 19, 4.5–5.2)4.5 (0.2, 12, 4.2–4.9)4.7 (0.2, 12, 4.3–5.1)4.7 (0.3, 15, 4.3–5.0)4.8 (0.2, 10, 4.6–5.0)4.7 (0.2, 10, 4.4–5.0)
Female4.7 (0.2, 14, 4.4–5.0)4.5 (0.2, 20, 4.1–5.0)4.6 (0.2, 11, 4.2–4.8)4.8 (0.3, 12, 4.3–5.3)4.7 (0.2, 10, 4.6–4.9)4.7 (0.2, 10, 4.5–5.0)
Bill Depth
Male6.3 (0.2, 19, 6.1–6.8)6.1 (0.3, 12, 5.7–6.6)6.1 (0.2, 10, 5.8–6.4)6.0 (0.3, 15, 5.6–6.4)6.3 (0.2, 10, 6.0–6.5)5.7 (0.1, 10, 5.6–5.8)
Female6.2 (0.2, 14, 5.9–6.5)6.0 (0.3, 20, 5.5–6.7)5.9 (0.3, 10, 5.5–6.4)5.9 (0.3, 12 5.5–6.4)6.1 (0.2, 10, 5.9–6.3)5.8 (0.2, 10, 5.5–6.0)
Toe
Male25.0 (0.8, 20, 23.5–26.5)22.0 (1.0, 10, 21.3–23.0)23.9 (1.5, 8, 22.0–26.0)21.5 (3)22.2 (1.0, 6)
Female24.7 (1.2, 14, 22.8–26.5)21.1 (0.7, 7, 21.5–22.8)22.3 (1.4, 8, 21.3–23.9)


Table 2

Basic nomenclatural history of Seaside Sparrow in relation to the genus Ammodramus and associated genera.

Reference Genus1 Type Species2 Remarks
Wilson 1811 Fringilla Linnaeus, 1758 “Fringilla” ( = Fringilla coelebs L., 1758) Wilson described this new species in volume 4 of American Ornithology and comments on habits, diet, and habitat.
Swainson 1827 Ammodramus Swainson, 1827 Oriolus caudacutus Gmelin, 1788 This genus was the taxonomic “home” for the Seaside Sparrow for much of its early and late nomenlatural history. Oriolus caudacutus Gmelin was mistakenly assigned by Swainson as the original type species of the genus. Oriolus caudacutus Gmelin is the earliest name of the “Sharp-tailed Sparrow” Ammodramus caudacuta (Gmelin); see Coturniculus and Ammospiza below.
AOU 1886 Ammodramus Swainson, 1827 Oriolus caudacutus Gmelin, 1788 The Seaside Sparrow is placed together with “Sharp-tailed Sparrow” as relatives in a broad conception of Ammodramus, subdivided into 4 subgenera including Ammodramus and Coturniculus in this first edition of the Check-list (1886). The error concerning the type species for Ammodramus remains uncorrected in this and in the second edition.
AOU 1895 Ammodramus Swainson, 1827 Oriolus caudacutus Gmelin, 1788 The treatment of Ammodramus in the second edition (1895) remains unchanged.
Ridgway 1901 Ammodramus Swainson, 1827 Oriolus caudacutus Gmelin, 1788 Ridgway restricts Ammodramus to include only A. maritimus, A. caudacutus, and A. leconteii, and A. henslowii, while Coturniculus Bonaparte applies only to Grasshopper Sparrows. However, Ridgway comments that Coturniculus may belong to Ammodramus.
Oberholser 1905 Coturniculus Bonaparte, 1838 Fringilla passerina Wilson, 1811 Oberholser emends the error in type species designation for Ammodramus. He points out that an earlier name for Coturniculus Bonaparte was found in Ammodramus Swainson, the real type of which is Ammodramus bimaculatus Swainson and was first use of the original description of A. bimaculatus, the western continental form of A. savannarum (Gmelin, 1788). Also see Ammospiza next. Thus, the genus Ammodramus Gmelin is now formally linked with Grasshopper Sparrow and not Saltmarsh Sparrow.
Oberholser 1905 Ammospiza Oberholser, 1905 Oriolus caudacutus Gmelin, 1788 Because the generic name belongs to Coturniculus Swainson and the latter is a synonym of Ammodramus, as shown above, another name is needed for the group to which Oriolus caudacutus Gmelin previously applied (see AOU Check-list, second edition above). Thus, Oberholser introduced the genus Ammospiza, which carries Gmelin”s name as its type species and also is associated with “Sharp-tailed Sparrow” Ammospiza caudacuta.
AOU 1910 Passerherbulus “Maynard”, Stone 1907 Ammodramus lecontei Sharpe, 1888 ( = Fringilla caudacuta Latham, 1790, not Oriolus caudacutus Gmelin, 1788) This Check-list edition (1910) affirmed application of Oberholser”s correction of Gmelin”s type species Oriolus caudacutus to “Sharp-tailed Sparrow” (= Passerherbulus caudacutus in this Check-list). However, based on an assessment in Stone (1907),the AOU Check-list followed the conclusion that Ammodramus Swainson, 1827, is a synonym of Passerherbulus Maynard, and because it is a prior name to Oberholser”s Ammospiza, 1905, Passerherbulus was adopted in the Check-list.
American Ornithologists' Union 1931 Ammospiza Oberholser, 1905 Fringilla caudacuta Wilson, 1811 ( = Oriolus caudacutus Gmelin, 1788) The fourth edition of the Check-list (1931) made another change resulting in a split of the Seaside Sparrow and its two closest “marshland” relatives into Ammospiza Oberholser leaving only Grasshopper Sparrow in the genus Ammodramus Gmelin.
Hellmayr 1938 Ammospiza Oberholser, 1905 Fringilla caudacuta Wilson, 1811 ( = Oriolus caudacutus Gmelin, 1788) Hellmayr follows AOU Check-list, fourth edition nomenclature leaving the two species of “marshland sparrows” in Ammospiza. Thryospiza Oberholser (1917) becomes a synonym of Ammospiza in Hellmayr (1938) and remains there.
American Ornithologists' Union 1957 Ammospiza Oberholser, 1905 Fringilla caudacuta Wilson, 1811 ( = Oriolus caudacutus Gmelin, 1788) This is the last AOU Check-list (1957) edition to treat subspecies. This Check-list retains the Seaside Sparrow and its marshland relative in Ammospiza and maintains Hellmayr”s breakdown of genera covering the drier “grassland” species (e.g., Ammodramus, Passerherbulus).
Murray 1968b Ammospiza Oberholser, 1905 [as in AOU Check-list, 5th edition] Murray here makes the case that LeConte”s Sparrow not only belongs in Ammospiza Gmelin with the other “marshland” sparrows, but also it is closest relative to “Sharp-tailed Sparrow” A. caudacuta, thus implying Seaside Sparrow is basal (oldest) in the group.
Paynter and Storer 1970 Ammodramus Swainson, 1827 Ammodramus bimaculatus Swainson, 1827 ( = Fringilla savannarum Gmelin, 1789) Once again, Seaside Sparrow (most all grassland and marshland sparrows) is placed in the genus Ammodramus in a much broadened concept of the taxon. This decision is based on similarity in form and graminoid habitat and its implied monophyletic ancestry, which was doubted, cannot be tested until phylogenetic methods are developed. The enlarged genus covers species rank taxa from Junco to Spizella (see synonyms in Paynter and Storer 1970).
American Ornithologists' Union 1983 Ammodramus Swainson, 1827 Ammodramus bimaculatus Swainson, 1827 ( = Fringilla savannarum Gmelin, 1789) This AOU Check-list (1983) mostly follows Paynter and Storer (1970) on the Seaside Sparrow and most of its relatives with the exception of Passerculus Bonaparte, which covers Savannah Sparrows.
Sibley and Monroe 1990 Ammodramus Swainson, 1827 [not identified] This checklist has a world view perspective on avian species, but is based broadly on the DNA hybridization work of Sibley and Ahlquist 1990, which in turn had little species-level resolution including on the Seaside Sparrow and its close relatives. The nomenclature on the Seaside Sparrow and its closest relatives follows the AOU Check-list sixth edition.
American Ornithologists' Union 1998 Ammodramus Swainson, 1827 Ammodramus bimaculatus Swainson, 1827 ( = Fringilla savannarum Gmelin, 1789) The nomenclature of interest here in the seventh edition of the AOU Check-list (1998) follows that of the sixth edition Check-list.
Chesser et al. 2018 Ammospiza Oberholser, 1905 Fringilla caudacuta Wilson, 1811 ( = Oriolus caudacutus Gmelin, 1788) Finally, American Ornithological Society (A.O.S. replacing AOU) restores the “marshland” sparrows to Ammospiza Oberholser. This group of sparrows, now composed of four species (A. leconteii, A. maritima, A. nelsoni, and A. caudacuta) has maritima sister to both nelsoni and caudacuta, with leconteii sister to the other three. Ammospiza is confirmed as a monophyletic taxon (e.g., Klicka and Spellman 2007, Barker et al. 2015).

  • 1Publication year that genus taxon was introduced and described by author.
  • 2Type species of the genus, which functions as the name carrier for the taxon, either designated by original author or subsequently by a first reviser.

Table 3

Nest survival estimates for Seaside Sparrow.

Daily estimate is based on a Mayfield types estimator and period estimate is the daily estimate exponentiated to the number of days in the Period. Period is for the entire nesting cycle (laying, incubation, and nestling stages) unless otherwise indicated ("inc." = incubation. "nest." = nestling). No data are available for A. m. sennetti.

Location Year Nests (n) Period (days) Daily Estimate Period Estimate Range Reference
A. m. maritima
Allens Pond, Massachusetts 1985 30 22 0.934 0.221 Marshall and Reinert 1990
1986 25 22 0.962 0.426
Connecticut 2002–2003 22 26 0.95 0.27 0.08–0.52 Gjerdrum et al. 2005
Oak Beach, New York 1977–1980 343 26 0.97 0.453 0.962–0.977 JSG
Edwin B. Forsythe NWR, New Jersey 2011–2015 511 25 0.953 0.303 0.054 SE Roberts et al. 2017
Woodland Beach, Delaware 2006–2008 64 25 0.93 0.152 Warner 2009
Bombay Hook NWR, Delaware 2006–2008 100 25 0.957 0.319
Prime Hook NWR, Delaware 2007–2008 125 25 0.947 0.256 Pepper and Shriver 2010
Blackwater NWR, Maryland 2007 62 26 0.971 0.469 0.96–0.98 Kern 2010
2008 137 26 0.938 0.19 0.92–0.95
2009 124 26 0.881 0.037 0.85–0.90
A. m. macgillivraii
Brunswick, Georgia 2013 78 25 0.85 0.017 0.80–0.89 Hunter et al. 2016
2014 87 25 0.93 0.163 0.90–0.95
2015 158 25 0.84 0.013 0.81–0.87
Nassau River and Clapboard Creek (Duval and Nassau Counties) northeast Florida 2015–2017 116 25 0.869 0.03 0.00–0.10 Cox et al. 2020
A. m. mirabilis
East of Shark River Slough 1995–1996 24 12 inc. 0.96 0.61 Lockwood et al. 1997
9 nest. 0.969 0.75
Population A 1996–1999 10 25 0.919 0.12 Lockwood et al. 2001
Population B 212 25 0.948 0.26
Population E 30 25 0.975 0.53
Population B - Ingraham 1996–2006 110 25 0.915 0.11 0.06–0.18 Baiser et al. 2008
Population B - Main Park 103 25 0.939 0.21 0.13–0.31
Population E - East Camp 216 25 0.939 0.21 0.15–0.28
Population E (Burned) Pre-Fire 7 25 0.965 0.414 La Puma et al. 2007
2002 0 25 0 0
2003 0 25 0 0
2004 14 25 0.965 0.407
2005 25 25 0.948 0.265
Population E (Unburned) Pre-Fire 14 25 0.96 0.364 La Puma et al. 2007
2002 25 25 0.924 0.137
2003 29 25 0.956 0.325
2004 26 25 0.954 0.313
2005 41 25 0.97 0.461
A. m. peninsulae
Gulf Hammock, Florida 1979 34 12 inc. 0.747 0.03 WP
1980 43 12 inc. 0.838 0.12
A. m. fisheri
Jackson County, Mississippi 2011–2012 299 24 0.922 0.142 0.909–0.933 Lehmicke 2014

Recommended Citation

Greenlaw, J. S., W. G. Shriver, and W. Post (2022). Seaside Sparrow (Ammospiza maritima), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.seaspa.02