Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
STATUS: Common but declining.
HABITAT: A species of the high plains and arid regions of western valleys and hills, usually found far from water. Generally avoids mountainous areas and prefers areas dominated by blue grama grass and buffalo grass. In winter, congregates in flocks of 15 to several hundred on alkali flats, plowed ground, grazed pastures, or other open arid habitats.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Shortgrass prairie and arid plains.
NEST: Nests in scrapes on flat ground, preferably in areas of blue grama-buffalo grass with scattered clumps of cacti and western wheat grass. Avoids tall vegetation.
FOOD: Consumes mostly, if not entirely, insects caught on the dry plains and prairies, primarily grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, and flies.
REFERENCES: Bent 1929, Garrett in Farrand 1983a, Graul 1975, Palmer 1967, Terres 1980.