Endangered Species
Mountain-Prairie Region

SPRAGUE'S PIPIT

Sprague's Pipit
Photo: Bob Gress

The Sprague’s pipit is a relatively small passerine endemic to the North American grasslands.  It has a plain buff colored face with a large eye-ring. The Sprague’s pipit is a ground nester that breeds and winters on open grasslands.  It feeds mostly on insects and spiders and some seeds. 

The Sprague’s pipit is closely tied with native prairie habitat and breeds in the north-central United States in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota as well as south-central Canada.  Wintering occurs in the southern States of Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Mexico.

Recent Actions The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reviewed the conservation status of Sprague’s Pipit to determine whether the species warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act. The status review found that listing Sprague’s Pipit as threatened or endangered is warranted, but that listing the species at this time is precluded by the need to complete other listing actions of a higher priority. To ensure this review was comprehensive, the Service solicited information from state and federal natural resource agencies and all interested parties regarding the Sprague’s pipit and its habitat.

Sprague's Pipit Conservation Plan

Jones, S. L. 2010. Sprague’s Pipit (Anthus spragueii) Conservation Plan. U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C

List Server Group Communications

The SPRAGUE'S PIPIT LIST-SERV is available to facilitate communication about this species, and other mixed-grass prairie discussions. For information or questions, or to subscribe to the list, or to send a message to all subscribers, send an e-mail to stephanie_jones@fws.gov.

Recent Publications

Jones, S.L., J.S. Dieni, and P.J. Gouse. 2010. Reproductive Biology of a Grassland Songbird Community in Northcentral Montana. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 122:455-464.

Pyle, P., S.L. Jones, and J. M. Ruth. 2008. Molt and aging criteria for four North American grassland passerines. U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Technical Publication, FWS/BTP-R6011-2008, Washington, D.C. http://library.fws.gov/BTP/grasslandpasserines08.pdf

Jones, S. L., J. S. Dieni, M. T. Green, and P. J. Gouse. 2007. Annual return rates of breeding grassland songbirds. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 119:89-94.

Jones, S. L., and J. S. Dieni. 2007. The relationship between predation and nest concealment in mixed-grass prairie passerines: an analysis using program MARK. Studies in Avian Biology 34:117-123.

Jongsomjit, D., S. L. Jones, T. Gardali, G. R. Geupel, and P. J. Gouse. 2007. A guide to nestling development and aging in altricial passerines. U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Technical Publication, FWS/BTP-R6008- 2007, Washington, D.C. http://library.fws.gov/BTP/altricialpasserines07.pdf

2007 Best Management Practices for Sprague's Pipit, Canadian Prairies


Past Actions Following a review of a petition to list the Sprague’s pipit as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is initiating a status review of the species to determine if listing is warranted.

The petition finding does not mean that the Service has decided it is appropriate to give the Sprague’s pipit federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.  Rather, this finding is the first step in a long process that triggers a more thorough review of all the biological information available.

To ensure this review is comprehensive, the Service is soliciting information from state and federal natural resource agencies and all interested parties regarding the Sprague’s pipit and its habitat.  Comments will be received until February 1, 2010.

Last updated: May 20, 2011