Thick-billed Longspur

Basic Description

The thick-billed longspur is a small, sparrow-sized bird with a stout bill and short tail. It has black and white streaked upperparts and buffy underparts with black spotting on the breast. The male has striking breeding plumage of a black face, throat, breast, and belly, a chestnut nape patch, rusty edges to its wing feathers, and bright yellow patches on its head.

Where To Find This Bird

The thick-billed longspur breeds in the Arctic tundra of Canada from the Yukon Territory to Labrador. During winter months it can be found in grasslands throughout much of western North America from southern Alberta down through Texas.


This bird prefers wide-open spaces like prairies or open areas within wetland habitats during migration periods. In their breeding range they nest primarily in low-lying moist areas covered by lichens or mosses where they are well camouflaged against predators.


During nesting season this species feeds mainly on insects such as flies or beetles which it catches while foraging along the ground. In fall/winter seasons its diet switches over to include seeds especially weed seeds such as dandelion which come abundant at that time.

Cool Facts

Despite their remote breeding grounds in Canada’s North many individuals have made themselves comfortable among oil wells where there is plenty of food provided by drilling activities making them one of few birds expanding their habitat due to human activity rather than facing loss thereof; Also these birds are capable flyers covering up-to 7000km round trip migratory journeying between Canadian territories all way down till Mexico sometimes even venturing into various parts South america seeking suitable habitat conditions .