Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
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WORLD BIRDS
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ANECDOTES

  Ammodramus spp
 
 

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Species Acct.
Loons
Grebes
Procellarids
Pelicans
Herons
Ibises
Storks
Vultures
Flamingos
Waterfowl
Raptors
Turkeys
Quail
Rails
Limpkin
Cranes
Shorebirds
Gulls
Terns
Auks
Doves
Parrots
Cuckoos
Owls
Goatsuckers
Swifts
Hummers
Kingfishers
Woodpckrs
Flycatchers
Shrikes
Vireos
Crows/Jays
Larks
Swallows
Tits
Nuthatches
Creepers
Wrens
Kinglets
Gnatcatchers
Thrushes
Mimids
Starlings
Pipits
Waxwings
NW Warblers
Tanagers
NWSparrows
Cardinalines
Icterids
Finches
OWSparrows

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  Order Passeriformes
   Suborder Passeres - Oscines (Song Birds)
      Parvorder Passerida (Superfamily Passeroidea)
         Nine-primaried Oscines
            Family Emberizidae - New World Sparrows, Towhees, Juncos

  Passerines are generally smaller than non-passerines. They have a perching foot with three toes directed forward and the one backward with locking tendons to facilitate perching when their tendons are flexed. All passerines scratch by bringing the foot over the wing. Incubation ranges from 11 -21 days. Young hatch blind with little or no down and spend 10-15 days or so in the nest - development is rapid and parents provide care beyond fledging.
Oscines are passerines with complex syringeal musculature used to produce varied vocalizations. 
Passeroids include the Nine-primaried Oscines, pipits, Old World sparrows, and weavers.
Nine-primaried Oscines include New World warblers, icterids (New World blackbirds), emberizines (buntings), tanagers, cardinalines (cardinals), and fringillines (finches).
Emberizines are primarily New World seed-eaters with a conical bill and dull, streaked plumage. They belong to our nine-primaried assemblage of families. When they forage on the ground, they are able to scratch using both legs at once ("hopping" to clear leaves or debris to reach food). They have loud songs that aid in their location and identification.
Short-tailed Sparrows  (Ammodramus). This genus has 9 species, 7 reaching the United States. They are best identified during the breeding season when males sing from exposed perches. They forage on the ground in dense grass and are only seen if flushed, perching momentarily then diving back into dense cover. They are silent when flushed. They typically do not flock. They have relatively flat heads, large bills, and short tails. They are slightly smaller than Savannah Sparrows but have a short tail and appear chunky. Their songs are wheezy or whispering.
     
     
 
Henslow's and LeConte's Sparrows
 

     

  These are the smallest Ammodramus sparrows and both are very secretive. Henslow's inhabits patchy weedy fields and Le Conte's is found in grassy meadows. Note that they will be hard to study - they are often seen only as a small brown bird flying away from you.
   Note that these sparrows would be difficult to distinguish  even if your were holding them in your hand. Check Sibley carefully.
   Here are some differences:
 
Trait Henslow's Sparrow LeConte's Sparrow
Juvenile stripes on back less bold broad pale stripes on back
Adult - flying dark reddish streaked back, brownish rump bold stripes on pale back, orangish rump
Adul - perched rufous-edged tertials
heavy bill
white-eye ring
green-olive crown
white-edged tertials
small bill
gray lores and auricles
white median crown-stripe
       
  Skip to Henslow's Sparrow Skip to LeConte's Sparrow  
   
   
   
   
   
       
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