Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
STATUS: Common, but population is declining from the Dakotas and Nebraska east to New York and Maryland.
HABITAT: Prefers prairies in the West and cultivated grasslands, especially those with orchardgrass, alfalfa, red clover, and bush clover, in the East. Inhabits mixed-grass, short-grass, and tall-grass prairies, sage prairies, small grain fields and weedy fallow fields. Avoids fields containing more than 35 percent shrubs, but will occupy grassy habitats with some scattered trees.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Continuous tall herbaceous cover and conspicuous song perches.
NEST: Builds nest in a slight depression on the ground, usually well hidden at the base of a clump of grass or other vegetation, with vegetation arched over the top. May nest singly or in small colonies.
FOOD: Gleans food from the ground. Consumes a diet that is 63 percent insects from fall to spring; also includes spiders, snails, and seeds.
REFERENCES: DeGraff et al. 1980, Forbush and May 1955, Johnsgard 1979, Smith 1963, Bent 1968b, Tate and Tate 1980.