The saltmarsh sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus) is a small American sparrow. At one time, this bird and the Nelson's sparrow were thought to be a single species, the sharp-tailed sparrow. Because of this, the species was briefly known as the "saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrow".
The saltmarsh sparrow measures 11–14 cm (4.3–5.5 in) in length, spans 17.8–21 cm (7.0–8.3 in) across the wings and weighs from 14–23.1 g (0.49–0.81 oz). Adults have brownish upperparts with gray on the crown and nape, a cream-colored breast with dark streaks and a white throat and belly; they have an orange face with grey cheeks and a short pointed tail. Distinguishing this species from closely related sparrows can be difficult, especially the Nelson's sparrow which differs only in being more buffy on the chest with dark blurred streaks.
Their breeding habitat is salt marshes on the Atlantic coast of the United States from southern Maine to Virginia. The nest is an open cup located above the high tide line. Males compete for females but do not defend territories. Only females raise the young.
These birds migrate further south along the eastern coast of the United States. They forage on the ground or in marsh vegetation, sometimes probing in mud. They mainly eat insects, aquatic invertebrates and seeds. The call is a raspy trill.
This bird's numbers are declining due to habitat loss largely attributed to human activity.
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