Family Longspurs (Calcariidae)


Chestnut-collared Longspur (Calcarius ornatus)


French: Plectrophane à ventre noir German: Gelbkehl-Spornammer Spanish: Escribano collarejo

Plectrophanes ornata

J. K. Townsend

, 1837,

prairies of Platte River = near forks of Platte River, western Nebraska, USA


Has hybridized with Rhynchophanes mccownii. Monotypic.


S Canada (from S Alberta, S Saskatchewan and SC Manitoba) S in Great Plains to NE Colorado, W Nebraska, N (locally also E & SC) South Dakota and W Minnesota; winters from S USA (Arizona E to C Kansas, C Oklahoma and C Texas, rarely to S California) to NC Mexico (Sonora and W Coahuila S to Zacatecas and Aguascalientes).

Descriptive notes

13·5–16·5 cm; 17–23 g. The smallest longspur, medium-sized and with much white in tail. Male breeding has black crown with white spot in middle;... read more


Song, often in flight, a musical warble generally lasting for 2–3 seconds, contains 7–8... read more


Breeds in arid short-grass or mixed-grass prairie that has been recently grazed, burnt or mowed;... read more

Food and feeding

Diet in breeding season in Colorado 28% seeds (mainly of grasses), 51% crickets and grasshoppers (Orthoptera), 19% beetles (Coleoptera,... read more


Season early May to early Aug; often double-brooded, occasionally three broods. Monogamous; partners sometimes remain together for... read more


Migratory; moves mainly through W & C Prairies and Great Plains to non-breeding grounds from S... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Classified as “Declining” in the USA (Yellow WatchList priority species for conservation). Often common or very common in appropriate habitat.... read more

Recommended citation

Rising, J. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Chestnut-collared Longspur (Calcarius ornatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 22 February 2019).