LAPLAND LONGSPUR(Calcarius lapponicus) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Lapland Longspur is a passerine bird with a conical bill. Breeding male has a black face, throat, neck and crown, and a rufous patch on the nape. Back, wings and tail are brown with beige stripes. White band along the black areas, and the flanks are dark brown to black. Under parts are light grey. Bill is yellow, legs are grey. Females are mottled brown and their bill and legs are grey. The bird measures around 15 cm (6 inches).
NAME: The English name (and Latin species name) refers to the region (Lapland) where the first individual was identified, and ‘Longspur’ refers to the long rear claw of this bird. The Latin genus name ‘Calcarius’ also refers to its rear claw. Also called ‘Lapland Bunting’.
HABITAT: Arctic wet tundra in the summer, grasslands or fields in the winter.
DIET: Forages on the ground for insects and seeds. Can eat thousands of flies in a single day.
NESTING: Nest built on the ground. Around four to six light green eggs are laid, incubated by the female. Chicks fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds in the Arctic around the globe. During migration is found in Canada east of the Rockies, winters in the north part of contiguous USA east of the Rockies, the Russian steppes, Denmark and northeast China.
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, only found during migration, then uncommon to fairly common depending on the years.
CONSERVATION: During the winter Lapland longspurs can form huge flocks numbering in the millions. If they then hit human-built structures during a snowstorm thousands may get killed. Their population however appears stable, although not much is currently precisely known on their global trends.
NOTES: Lapland longspurs use their long hind claw in walking and running on the ground.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Horned Lark, Vesper Sparrow

Lapland Longspur - Iceland - June 8, 2011 - Omar Runolfsson
Lapland Longspur – Iceland – June 8, 2011 – photo by Ómar Runólfsson
Lapland Longspur in winter plumage - Gull Island, Presqu'ile Provincial Park, ON - Dec. 25, 2008 - Qmnonic
Lapland Longspur in winter plumage – Gull Island, Presqu’ile Provincial Park, ON – Dec. 25, 2008 – Qmnonic