Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
STATUS: Locally common.
HABITAT: Inhabits a wide variety of open habitats, from coastal dunes and alpine tundra to prairies and deserts. Prefers areas with a minimum of vegetation, such as natural or planted low-stature grasslands, cultivated and plowed fields, golf courses, airports, and other relatively barren areas. In winter, groups in small-to-enormous flocks on open, barren sites similar to its breeding habitat.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Bare ground for nesting.
NEST: Nests in a depression on the ground, placed so that the upper edge of the nest is level with the ground surface. Often paves the nest with small pebbles along a portion of the rim. Places nest where there is little or no vegetational cover around the nest, or next to a clump of grass or a rock.
FOOD: In summer, feeds primarily on insects; in winter, it consumes seeds of grasses, weeds, and waste grains.
REFERENCES: Beal and McAtee 1912, Beason and Franks 1974, Cottam and Hanson 1938, DeGraff et al. 1980, Johnsgard 1979, Pickwell 1931, Terres 1980, Verbeek 1967.