Family Pipits and Wagtails (Motacillidae)


Sprague's Pipit (Anthus spragueii)


French: Pipit de Sprague German: Präriepieper Spanish: Bisbita llanero

Alauda Spragueii


, 1844,

near Fort Union, North Dakota, USA


Molecular analyses suggest close relationship with A. furcatus, A. hellmayri and A. bogotensis, and may form a clade with these species and A. lutescens, A. correndera and A. antarcticus. Monotypic.


S Canada (C & SE Alberta, C & S Saskatchewan, SW Manitoba; occasionally S British Columbia) and N USA (N & C Montana, North Dakota, N South Dakota, NW Minnesota). Winters from S USA S to C Mexico.

Descriptive notes

15–17 cm; c. 25 g. Rather small, highly secretive pipit with strongly streaked upperparts. Has indistinct pale buffish supercilium, pale buffy grey-brown ear-coverts... read more


Song, almost always in flight, a musical series of thin, jingling phrases on descending scale,... read more


Grassland and weedy fields on plains and prairies during summer; in non-breeding season, temperate... read more

Food and feeding

Small invertebrates, mainly insects such as grasshoppers and crickets (Orthoptera), ants (Hymenoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), bugs (... read more


Laying in late May and Jun. Displaying male ascends to over 100 m, circles and sings with tail spread, then plunges, wings closed, towards... read more


Migratory. Leaves breeding grounds from late Sept, flying mostly through C USA; spends non-breeding... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Population has declined rapidly. Probably fairly common in some parts of range but uncommon to rare in others; in USA, breeds only irregularly in South Dakota and... read more

Recommended citation

Tyler, S. (2019). Sprague's Pipit (Anthus spragueii). 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 10 December 2019).