Spotlight On Ohio Birds

Nelson Sharp-tailed Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni)

Family:  Emberizidae

Order:  Passeriformes


  • Small, stocky songbird.
  • Orange-yellow face.
  • Gray ear patch.
  • Smudgy streaks on breast and flanks.
  • Short, rounded tail with pointed tail feathers.

Voice:  Song a steady hissing buzz.

Habitat:  Freshwater marshes and wet meadows in interior and brackish marshes along coast; in winter in salt and brackish marshes.

Nesting:  Open cup of grass stems and blades, lined with finer grass blades and sometimes built up on sides to form partial covering.



FYI’s:  The Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow formerly was considered the same species as the Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow, collectively known as the Sharp-tailed Sparrow. The two forms have separate breeding ranges that barely overlap in Maine. They differ in genetics, songs, and subtle plumage characters.

Resource material provided by:

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology/


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