DICKCISSEL

DICKCISSEL (Spiza americana) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Dickcissel breeding male has a grey head and cheeks with a yellow bar across the eye and another one on the neck side. Throat is yellow at the top and black at the base. Breast is yellow. Upperback streaked brown, lower back grey. Wings brown, wing shoulders rufous brown. Rump is white. Large conical bill is grey, eyes are black. Legs and feet are grey. Females and juveniles are brown and grey with no yellow. Bird length around 15 cm (6 inches).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Spiza-americana
NAME: English name ‘Dickcissel’ is an onomatopoeia for bird’s song. Latin genus name ‘Spiza’ means ‘Finch’.
HABITAT: Grasslands.
DIET: Insects, arthropods (spiders), seeds; also grain in the winter, notably sorghum.
NESTING: Nest is built near the ground. Between three and five light blue eggs are laid, incubated by the female. Chicks fed by the female.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds in Midwest USA. Migrates around Gulf of Mexico. Winters in Central America and northern South America (Los Llanos).
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedPia.org/wiki/Dickcissel#/media/File:Spiza_americana_map.svg
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward, seen occasionally in summer and fall.
CONSERVATION: Population fluctuated, possibly in relation to land use. Currently in decline but not at risk. One threat on wintering grounds is pesticide spraying of roosting birds at night.
NOTES: Gather in large flocks outside breeding season.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Eastern Meadowlark, House Sparrow (female)
REFERENCES: https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/dickcissel (Missouri Department of Conservation)
http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABPBX65010 (Montana Field Guide)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dickcissel
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Dickcissel/id
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/dickcissel
https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/202/overview/Dickcissel.aspx
https://abcbirds.org/bird/dickcissel/ (American Bird Conservancy)

Dickcissel male, breeding plumage - Fairview, Missouri - May 2008 - photo by RebelAt
Dickcissel male, breeding plumage – Fairview, Missouri – May 2008 – photo by RebelAt
Dickcissel male, nonbreeding plumage - Maywood, IL - July 2011 - photo by Tony Castro
Dickcissel male, nonbreeding plumage – Maywood, IL – July 2011 – photo by Tony Castro

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