|Conservation status||Still widespread and common.|
|Family||New World Sparrows|
|Habitat||Willow and alder thickets, muskeg, brushy bogs. In winter, thickets, weeds, bushes. Breeds in northern and mountainous areas in dense low vegetation near water, such as streamside willow groves, bushy edges of bogs, brushy clearings in wet coniferous forest. Winters in dense thickets, overgrown fields.|
Forages mostly while hopping on the ground, typically under or close to dense thickets.
4-5, sometimes 3-6. Pale green to greenish white, heavily spotted with reddish brown. Incubation is by female only, about 12-14 days. Female may remain on nest until approached very closely, then scurry away over the ground like a rodent. Young: Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave the nest about 9-12 days after hatching, may be tended by the parents for another 2-3 weeks or more.
Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave the nest about 9-12 days after hatching, may be tended by the parents for another 2-3 weeks or more.
Mostly insects and seeds. Feeds on many insects, especially in summer, including caterpillars, beetles, moths, ants, flies, and many others, also spiders and millipedes. Seeds probably make up majority of diet, especially in winter; included are seeds of weeds and grasses. Young are probably fed entirely on insects
Male defends nesting territory by singing. In some areas, may compete with Song Sparrows for territories, but Song Sparrows usually dominate. Nest site is on the ground, very well hidden under clump of grass or under dense shrubbery, often sunken in a depression in sphagnum moss or other ground cover. Nest (built by female only) is a shallow open cup of grasses or sedges, lined with fine grass and sometimes with animal hair.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Season of migration is spread over a long period in both spring and fall, with some birds migrating both early and late, especially in the West.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsA rich, gurgling, wren-like song rising in the middle and dropping abruptly at the end.
Learn more about this sound collection.
How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Lincoln's Sparrow
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Lincoln's Sparrow
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.