Buntings and New World Sparrows (Emberizidae)

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) - HBW 16, p. 550

French: Bruant des prés German: Grasammer Spanish: Chingolo Sabanero
Other common names: Aleutian Savannah Sparrow (sandwichensis); Ipswich Sparrow (princeps); Dwarf Savannah Sparrow (“brooksi”)

Taxonomy: Emberiza sandwichensis J. F. Gmelin, 1789, Unalaska, Alaska, USA.
Genus sometimes subsumed in Ammodramus. Traditionally treated as conspecific with P. guttatus and P. rostratus, and often also with P. sanctorum, but all differ in morphology and plumage and, to some extent, in ecology; separation at species level supported by recent molecular-genetic findings. Race princeps has been considered a separate species. Geographical variation of nominate race largely clinal: other proposed races are, from Canada, anthinus (described from Kodiak I, in Alaska), crassus (Sitka, in Alaska), brooksi (Chilliwack, in .. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Emberiza sandwichensis J. F. Gmelin, 1789, Unalaska, Alaska, USA.
Genus sometimes subsumed in Ammodramus. Traditionally treated as conspecific with P. guttatus and P. rostratus, and often also with P. sanctorum, but all differ in morphology and plumage and, to some extent, in ecology; separation at species level supported by recent molecular-genetic findings. Race princeps has been considered a separate species. Geographical variation of nominate race largely clinal: other proposed races are, from Canada, anthinus (described from Kodiak I, in Alaska), crassus (Sitka, in Alaska), brooksi (Chilliwack, in British Columbia), oblitus (Fort Churchill, in Manitoba) and labradorius (L’Anse-au-Loup, in Labrador), from USA mediogriseus (Ashtabula County, in extreme NE Ohio), alaudinus (from California, probably San Francisco), nevadensis (Soldier Meadows, Humboldt County, in NW Nevada) and savanna (Savannah, in E Georgia), from Mexico rufofuscus (Babicora, in Chihuahua) and brunnescens (Valley of Mexico), and from W Guatemala wetmorei (Hacienda Chancol); all are synonymized with nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • sandwichensis (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) - breeds in Alaska and Canada (except extreme N) S in USA to N California, W Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana and N Georgia, in C Mexico S to Puebla, possibly also SW Guatemala, also in Russian Far East (Chukotka); non-breeding S Canada S to C Mexico.
  • princeps Maynard, 1872 - breeds Sable I, in E Canada (E Nova Scotia); winters on Atlantic coast of USA (E Massachusetts S to S Georgia).