SPECIES

Seaside Sparrow Ammospiza maritima Scientific name definitions

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

Figures from this Account

Distribution of the Seaside Sparrow
Figure 1. Annual cycle of breeding, migration, and molt for the Seaside Sparrow.

Annual cycle of breeding, migration, and molt for a representative population of the Seaside Sparrow in the northeastern U.S. (e.g., Long Island, New York). Thick lines show peak periods of activity, thin lines off-peak.

Figure 2. Subspecies ranges of the Seaside Sparrow.

The approximate boundaries of Seaside Sparrow subspecies ranges are marked by dashed lines or arrows. The former range of the extinct subspecies nigrescens is marked with a black dot. Orange depicts breeding, purple depicts year-round, and blue depicts winter range. Base map by BirdLife International and Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Figure 3. Adults and Juveniles eating leaves of halophytes and Spartina seeds.

Image taken: Texas. Photos courtesy of Mark B. Bartosik, October 26, 2009; photographer William Post.

Figure 4. Primary Song of the Seaside Sparrow

Primary Song of the Seaside Sparrow (A. m. peninsulae), Wakulla County, Florida. Courtesy of the Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics, (#14690), Ohio State University.

Figure 5. Flight Song of the Seaside Sparrow.

Recording from Suffolk County, New York (JSG).

Figure 6. Representative calls of the Seaside Sparrow.

(a) Tsip; (b) Tuck; (c) zuck; (d) chew; (e) whinny. All recorded in Suffolk County, New York (JSG).

Figure 7. Tchi vocalization.

Recorded in Suffolk County, New York (JSG).

Figure 8. Use of uropygial gland.

Preening often performed on exposed perch, especially in early morning when grass wet. Adults and juveniles mandibulate orifice of uropygial gland and apply secretion by running bill over rectrices and by jabbing body plumage. Image taken: Texas. Photo courtesy of Mark B. Bartosik, October 26, 2009; photographer William Post.

Figure 9. Preening toes and leg.

Image: Texas; courtesy of Mark B. Bartosik; October 26, 2009; photographer William Post.

Figure 10. Wing-raise and gaping (threat displays) by juveniles.

Wings frequently raised during border disputes, often while bird gives tchi call or sings. One or both wings held up, occasionally asymmetrically, usually 30–45° above horizontal. Wings vibrated, tail spread, body feathers fluffed. Raising wings reveals yellow marginal coverts at the wrist. Birds often gape, fluff plumage, and droop wings. Image: Texas; courtesy of Mark B. Bartosik; October 26, 2009; photographer William Post.

Figure 11. Juvenile Seaside Sparrows carrying feathers (play).

Photo courtesy of Mark B. Bartosik, October 26, 2009; photographer William Post.

Figure 12. Seaside Sparrows prefer to nest in grasses.

In coastal marshes, nests are often built just above the high-tide line, although storm-augmented (flood) tides destroy many nests, forcing pairs to renest. Drawing by D. Otte.

Figure 13. Growth curve of nestling Seaside Sparrows at Oak Beach, New York (1977-1978).

Vertical lines are ±1 SD of the daily mean body mass. n = number of nestlings weighed at each age (day).

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