Buntings and New World Sparrows (Emberizidae)

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) - HBW 16, p. 556

French: Bruant sauterelle German: Heuschreckenammer Spanish: Chingolo Saltamontes

Taxonomy: Fringilla savannarum J. F. Gmelin, 1789, Jamaica.
Genus, as currently delimited, is probably polyphyletic. Molecular studies suggest that present species is closest to two Neotropical species, A. humeralis and A. aurifrons, all in a clade that includes some of the Aimophila sparrows and Arremonops, most of which are primarily Neotropical in distribution. Geographical variation often minimal, and many races poorly differentiated. Twelve subspecies generally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • perpallidus (Coues, 1872) - breeds in SW Canada (SE British Columbia E to W Ontario) and in USA discontinuously S to W California and E to Minnesota, W Oklahoma and C Texas, also extreme NW Mexico (N Baja California); non-breeding S USA (C California, S Arizona, C Oklahoma and Gulf Coast) S through Mexico and Guatemala to El Salvador.
  • pratensis (Vieillot, 1818) - breeds E of Great Plains from Wisconsin E through Michigan to SE Canada (SE Ontario, S Quebec and S New Brunswick), S to E Oklahoma, NE Texas, Arkansas, North Carolina and SE Virginia; non-breeding from S limits of breeding range S to Bahamas, Cuba, E & S Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.
  • ammolegus Oberholser, 1942 - breeds in S Arizona and adjacent NW Mexico (N Sonora); non-breeding also in W Mexico (S to Oaxaca) and Guatemala.

     See all 12 subspecies
  • perpallidus (Coues, 1872) - breeds in SW Canada (SE British Columbia E to W Ontario) and in USA discontinuously S to W California and E to Minnesota, W Oklahoma and C Texas, also extreme NW Mexico (N Baja California); non-breeding S USA (C California, S Arizona, C Oklahoma and Gulf Coast) S through Mexico and Guatemala to El Salvador.
  • pratensis (Vieillot, 1818) - breeds E of Great Plains from Wisconsin E through Michigan to SE Canada (SE Ontario, S Quebec and S New Brunswick), S to E Oklahoma, NE Texas, Arkansas, North Carolina and SE Virginia; non-breeding from S limits of breeding range S to Bahamas, Cuba, E & S Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.
  • ammolegus Oberholser, 1942 - breeds in S Arizona and adjacent NW Mexico (N Sonora); non-breeding also in W Mexico (S to Oaxaca) and Guatemala.
  • floridanus (Mearns, 1902) - C Florida (Kissimee Prairie).
  • bimaculatus Swainson, 1827 - C & S Mexico (at least Zacatecas, México, S Veracruz, possibly also Oaxaca), Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
  • cracens (Bangs & Peck, 1908) - N & E Guatemala (Petén and Izabál), Belize, E Honduras and NE Nicaragua.
  • beatriceae Olson, 1980 - C Panama (Coclé Province).
  • savannarum (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) - Jamaica.
  • intricatus E. J. O. Hartert, 1907 - Hispaniola.
  • borinquensis J. L. Peters, 1917 - Puerto Rico.
  • caribaeus (E. J. O. Hartert, 1902) - Netherlands Antilles (Curaçao and Bonaire).
  • caucae Chapman, 1912 - S Colombia (upper Cauca Valley) and NW Ecuador.