It is much less common in the east, where its range is contracting. The lovely contrast of the sparrows’ tail feathers makes the bird stand out against the mix of green tones in the tangle of vegetation of its’ spring and summer habitat. The rump is gray-brown and unmarked, and the back is a similar color with dark streaks. The long tail has white triangles at the corners that are conspicuous in flight. The Lark Sparrow also can quickly be recognized even at some distance because of the unique patterns of its’ long tail feathers. The Lark Sparrow also can quickly be recognized even at some distance because of the unique patterns of its’ long tail feathers. When the bird is in flight and the tail feathers are spread wide, the white tips on the dark tail feathers are revealed identifying the bird as a Lark Sparrow. Lark sparrow adult upperparts are gray-brown with dark brown and tan streaks and spots; the head has an ornate pattern, with chestnut cheeks and crown stripes, a pale central crown stripe, and a buff eye line. The tail is dark, with the outer two corners having large white tips, similar to an eastern towhee's tail… Lark Sparrows favor areas with bare open ground and scattered bushes, habitats that are more common in the West and Midwest than in the East; they often forage conspicuously out in the open. You may be lucky enough to get a close-up look at Lark Sparrows as they regularly forage, often in pairs, along the less traveled roads searching the weedy edges for seeds, caterpillars, and other insects. Their courtship is also unusual, involving a hopping and crouching display unlike other sparrows. The lovely contrast of the sparrow’s tail feathers makes the bird stand out against the mix of green tones in the tangle of vegetation of its spring and summer habitat. Males sing a melodious jumble of churrs, buzzes, and trills reminiscent of an Old World lark. The populations in Mexico and adjacent states of the United States are resident, but other birds are migratory, wintering in the southern United States, Mexico and south to Guatemala. The clear, white breast is punctuated with an eye-catching black dot. In these locations of prime Lark Sparrow habitat one might get a glimpse of a bird that is less common east of the Mississippi. Those amazingly crisp colors on the face of these birds help to distinguish the Lark from most other sparrows, making them an easy bird to identify. This large sparrow may be brown, but its harlequin facial pattern and white tail spots make it a standout among sparrows. The restored sandy prairies, grasslands, and pastures, with some trees and bushes nearby, are ideal location and probable nesting areas for the sparrow. The sparrow arrives in our area in the spring for the nesting season from its’ winter range in the Southwestern United States and south into Mexico. Many sparrows are challenging to identify, but this one is a striking exception, with its bold face pattern and broad, white-edged tail. This is the time of the year that Lark Sparrows can be found in open country here in Northeastern Illinois and Northwestern Indiana. Their courtship is also unusual, involving a hopping and crouching display unlike other sparrows. This large sparrow may be brown, but its harlequin facial pattern and white tail spots make it a standout among sparrows. As the Lark Sparrow swoops over the prairies of the Midwest it will easily catch the eye of the observant bird watcher. June 4, 2020 – The Lark Sparrow is a large, sharp-looking, sparrow with strong facial markings of rich chestnut, bright white, and coal black. The Lark Sparrow is a distinctive bird with a number of bold features that distinguish it from other sparrows. When the bird is in flight and the tail feathers are spread wide, the white tips on the dark tail feathers are revealed identifying the bird as a Lark Sparrow. Males sing a melodious jumble of churrs, buzzes, and trills reminiscent of an Old World lark. This passerine bird breeds in southern Canada, much of the United States, and northern Mexico.
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