Le Conte's Sparrow

Ammodramus leconteii
Emberizidae (sparrows, longspurs, buntings) in the order Passeriformes

Buff or pale rusty orange face and breast. Gray ear patch. Whitish median stripe on brown crown. Streaked flank. Lacks wing bars. Le Conte's sparrow is one of our rarest but most colorful winter sparrows. Juveniles look like adults but have faint streaking on the breast.

Length: 5 inches (tip of bill to tip of tail).
Habitat and conservation: 
This secretive bird can be found in winter in brushy, moist fields and meadows, mostly in the southern portion of the state. As a migrant in the spring and fall, it is usually found in prairies, prairie grass plantings and weedy fields. Often difficult to observe, but easier to locate in early morning or with a group of patient observers.
Forages on the ground for insects and seeds.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Potentially statewide, in appropriate habitats and seasons.
Common transient in the west, uncommon in the east; uncommon winter resident in the south, rare in the north (Glaciated Plains).
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