Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
New Information Shows Sprague’s Pipit Does Not Require Federal Protection

April 4, 2016

Contact(s):

Serena Baker, 303-236-4588

Elsie Davis, 404-679-7107 (Southeast)


A light colored bird with dark brown feathers on it's back standing on the grassy ground.

Sprague's Pipit Credit: Electronic Collection of Georgia Birds, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Higher Quality Version of Image

LAKEWOOD, CO – The Sprague’s pipit is a relatively small, brown striped, perching bird that nests in the ground and breeds in the open grasslands of the north-central U.S. This songbird performs the longest known territorial flight display, and migrates to the South for winter. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced this native bird no longer meets the definition of a candidate species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

In a thorough status review using the best available science and modeling, the Service found that habitat loss from agriculture in the Sprague’s pipit’s key breeding grounds does not pose a significant risk, historic rates of population decline are expected to stabilize, and that the pipit is not as affected as once thought by energy development and connecting roads. Studies also show Sprague’s pipits are more mobile, adaptable and found in more areas than expected in wintering habitat.

In 2010, the Sprague’s pipit was identified as a candidate species. But this new information shows the above factors do not pose a significant threat to the pipit’s long-term survival, and the Service is withdrawing it from the candidate list.

The finding on the Sprague’s pipit will publish in the Federal Register on April 5, 2016 as Docket Number FWS–R6–ES–2009–0081.

America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. To learn more about the Sprague’s pipit visit http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/es/spraguesPipit.php.


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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