Seaside sparrow

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Seaside sparrow
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Passerellidae
Genus: Ammospiza
A. maritima
Binomial name
Ammospiza maritima
(Wilson, 1811)

8, see below

The seaside sparrow (Ammospiza maritima) is a species of 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. A typical seaside sparrow lifespan in 8 to 9 years of maximum.[2] The oldest record of seaside sparrow was an individual male which was at least 10 years old when recaptured and re-released during the banding operations in South Carolina.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

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.

The recently-extinct dusky seaside sparrow (A. m. nigrescens)


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). The small isolated population that near Corpus Christi, Texas, south to the Rio Grande and sennetti subspecies may also have risk to endangered,[4] those were formerly considered a separate species.


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


Currently there are eight subspecies recognized:[5]

  • Ammospiza maritima fisheri (Chapman, 1899)
  • Ammospiza maritima macgillivraii (Audubon, 1834)
  • Ammospiza maritima maritima (A. Wilson, 1811) – Nominate subspecies[6]
  • Ammospiza maritima mirabilis (A. H. Howell, 1919) - Cape Sable seaside sparrow
  • Ammospiza maritima nigrescens (Ridgway, 1874) - Dusky seaside sparrow
  • Ammospiza maritima pelonota (Oberholser, 1931)
  • Ammospiza maritima peninsulae (J. A. Allen, 1888) - Scott's seaside sparrow
  • Ammospiza maritima sennetti (J. A. Allen, 1888)


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2021). "Ammospiza maritima". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T22721123A138478974. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-3.RLTS.T22721123A138478974.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ "SEASIDE SPARROW LIFE EXPECTANCY". World Life Expectancy. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  3. ^ "Seaside Sparrow Overview". All About Birds. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  4. ^ Jon S. Greenlaw, W. Gregory Shriver, and William Post (July 1, 2022). "Seaside Sparrow - Ammospiza maritima". Birds of the World. Retrieved 23 July 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "Report: Ammodramus maritimus". ITIS. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  6. ^ "Seaside Sparrow". NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation. Retrieved 23 July 2022.

External links[edit]