Seaside sparrow

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Seaside sparrow
Ammospiza maritima 140747494 (cropped).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Passerellidae
Genus: Ammospiza
A. maritima
Binomial name
Ammospiza maritima
(Wilson, 1811)

Ammospiza maritima mirabilis
Ammospiza maritima nigrescens
Ammospiza maritima peninsulae

Ammodramus maritimus map.svg

The seaside sparrow (Ammospiza maritima) is an American sparrow.

Adults have brownish upperparts with gray on the crown and nape, and a grayish-buff-colored breast with dark streaks; they have a dark face with gray cheeks, a white throat, and a short, pointed tail. Birds show a small yellow streak just above the eye.

Their breeding habitat is salt marshes on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States from southern New Hampshire to southern Texas. The nest is an open cup usually built in the salt marsh on tidal reeds and spartina grasses. Females lay two to five eggs.

Northern birds most often migrate farther 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, marine invertebrates and seeds. Their feeding areas are often some distance away from the areas they choose to nest.

One of the numerous subspecies of this bird, the dusky seaside sparrow (A. m. nigrescens), has recently become extinct, and the Cape Sable subspecies, A. m. mirabilis, is endangered. Occurring in a restricted range but of uncertain validity is Scott's seaside sparrow, (A. m. peninsulae). Those were formerly considered a separate species.

The song is a raspy buzz that closely resembles a distant red-winged blackbird.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2018). "Ammospiza maritima". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T22721123A132007297. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22721123A132007297.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.

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