Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Henslow's Sparrow (Passerculus henslowii)


French: Bruant de Henslow German: Henslowammer Spanish: Chingolo de Henslow

Emberiza henslowii


, 1829,

opposite Cincinnati, Kentucky, USA


See P. bairdii. Races weakly differentiated; proposed race †houstonensis (based on a now vanished breeding population from Houston, in SE Texas), probably inseparable from nominate, but reconsideration of evidence worthwhile. Species sometimes treated as monotypic. Two subspecies provisionally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. h. henslowii (Audubon, 1829) – SE Minnesota E through C Wisconsin and S Canada (S Ontario) to C New York, S to C Kansas, NE Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, N Kentucky and C West Virginia; winters in S USA from C Texas E to South Carolina, S to Gulf Coast and N Florida.
  • P. h. susurrans (Brewster, 1918) – C New York E to S New Hampshire, S to E West Virginia and E North Carolina; winters along US coastal plain from South Carolina S to C Florida.
  • Descriptive notes

    12·1–13·3 cm; 10·6–15 g. A small sparrow, with a short tail, large bill and flat head. Nominate race has head with median crownstripe buffy... read more


    Song, often delivered at night, is a short, insect-like “tsi-lick” or “flee-sic... read more


    Breeds in native prairie with tall, dense grass and with matted ground cover. Often colonizes an... read more

    Food and feeding

    In summer feeds primarily on insects, especially grasshoppers (Orthoptera) and beetles (Coleoptera); in winter mainly seeds, especially... read more


    Laying May–Aug; perhaps single-brooded in N of range, and in some S areas, such as Missouri, two peaks of egg-laying, suggesting... read more


    Short-distance migrant; movements strictly nocturnal. Migration routes and timing very poorly known... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Previously considered Near Threatened. Classified as “Highest Concern” in the USA (Red WatchList priority species for... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rising, J. (2019). Henslow's Sparrow (Passerculus henslowii). 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 20 October 2019).