Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lapland Longspur

As I reported yesterday, a few days ago I discovered a mixed flock of Lapland Longspurs and Horned Larks. Here are two of the longspurs. Both species fed on roadside weed seeds. Males (below) and females (above) can be difficult to identify. Note the chestnut wing patches of both sexes. The flanks are heavily streaked. Both sexes also have a dark line surrounding their ear patches. Males have faint chestnut collars and their heads and breasts become blacker as spring approaches.

Lapland Longspurs breed across arctic Canada. Like the Horned Lark, these longspurs are holarctic. They winter across most of the United States, except Florida, and the Southwest. They get their name from their elongated hind toe. Such toes are often typical of ground-walking birds.

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