Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)


Taxonomy

French: Bruant de Lincoln German: Lincolnammer Spanish: Chingolo de Lincoln
Taxonomy:

Fringilla Lincolnii

Audubon

, 1834,

Labrador = near mouth of Natashquan River, Quebec, Canada

.

Geographical variation weak and clinal, and differences among populations obscured by individual variation; alticola often considered to be a synonym of nominate. Three subspecies provisionally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. l. lincolnii (Audubon, 1834) – NW Alaska E through Canadian boreal forest (S from NC Yukon and C Northwest Territories) to Labrador, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, and S in USA to C Washington, N Idaho, NW Montana, N Minnesota, N Wisconsin, C Michigan, W New York and C Maine; winters in region from extreme SW British Columbia and USA (S from N California, S Nevada and Arizona E to N Oklahoma, E Kansas, C Missouri, S Kentucky and SW Alabama, rare further E to N Georgia, NW South Carolina and Florida) S to S Mexico and Guatemala, rarely S to Honduras, Panama and Greater Antilles.
  • M. l. gracilis (Kittlitz, 1858) – coastal S Alaska and W Canada (C British Columbia); winters in SW USA (C California and Arizona) and NW & NC Mexico (Baja California, Sonora and Coahuila).
  • M. l. alticola (A. H. Miller & McCabe, 1935) – mountains of W USA from NC Oregon E to SC Montana and NC Wyoming, S to California (inner coastal ranges to San Jacinto Mts), WC Nevada, SW Utah, EC Arizona and N New Mexico; non-breeding from C California, Arizona and S Texas S through Mexico (except Yucatán Peninsula) to Guatemala, El Salvador and SW Honduras.
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5–14·5 cm; 14·3–24 g. A medium-sized sparrow; often pumps tail up and down during flight. Nominate race has crown brown to dark rusty... read more

    Voice

    Song a rich warble similar to that of Northern House Wren (Troglodytes aedon);... read more

    Habitat

    Often in boggy sites with dense low willows (Salix), sedge (Carex) and in moss-... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on a variety of foods. During breeding season mostly arthropods, such as insect larvae, and adult beetles (Coleoptera), flies (... read more

    Breeding

    Egg-laying from late May (mostly Jun and Jul), fledglings mid-Jun to mid-Aug; often two or more broods. Apparently monogamous. Usually in... read more

    Movements

    Migratory; in parts of W can be found in both summer and winter, although at different elevations,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in W parts of range; uncommon to marginally rare in parts of E. In some areas of range habitat has been degraded by grazing of livestock.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rising, J. (2019). Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/61916 on 18 February 2019).