The savannah sparrow is found in most of North America. It frequents moist grassy areas in valleys, often near marshes or wetlands, and often where the waters and soils are very alkaline. It requires habitat where the ground cover of grasses, sedges, or alfalfa is dense but short. The savannah sparrow inhabits grasslands surrounding the wetland areas of the Great Salt Lake region. Nesting on the ground or in the grasses, the savannah sparrow remains somewhat hidden. Because its foraging station is on the ground this bird rarely leaves the ground for any extended period of time. It spends its time feeding on a variety of insects, spiders, and seeds. Return
The male often establishes a territory. It sings while perched on clumps of vegitation or low fenceposts. When an intruder enters his territory he chases the intruder out while emitting a buzzing call. "During boundary disputes males may assume a face-to-face threatening posture, or they may walk together, side by side, along their common boundary" (Birds of the Great Basin p.488).
When disrupted by humans the bird will take a short flight only far enough to dive back into the grasses and be hidden from view, or it will duck and sprint through the grasses. The savannah sparrow is very difficult to spot and observe, because of his tendency to forage beneath grass, and shrubs. Return
Why is the savannah sparrow important in the Great Salt Lake Playa food web?
the Great Salt Lake Playa the savannah sparrow inhabits areas composed
of native salt grass, alkali dropseed, and
foxtail barley. Among these grasses are introduced annual weedy grasses
such as cheat grass, and mouse barley. Beneath the blades
of grass drop little seeds upon which the bird forages. Also beneath
these grasses one will find insects
such as spiders, and grasshoppers. It is most likely that the savannah
sparrow eats more insects during the nesting season in order to feed its
Behle, William H. 1958. The bird life of the Great Salt Lake. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, Ut.
Lambert, Mike. 1985. An Instant Guide to Birds, Bonanza Books, Spain.
Robbins, Chandler S., Bruun, Bertel, and Zim, Herbert S. 1983. Birds of North America, Western Publishing, New York, NY.
Ryser, Fred A. Jr. 1985. Birds of the Great Basin. University of Nevada Press, Reno, NV.
Udvardy, Miclos D.F. 1997. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, Chanticleer Press, inc., New York, NY.
Welty, Joel C. 1980. The Life of Birds. W.B. Saunders Company. Philadelphia, PA
Wetmore, Alexander. 1976.
Song and Garden Birds of North America. National Geographic Society.
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