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Sprague’s pipit. Photo by Dominic Sherony CC BY-SA 2.0.

New information shows sprague’s pipit does not require federal protection

Lakewood, Colorado – 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


Serena Baker, 303-236-4588

Elsie Davis, 404-679-7107 (Southeast)

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. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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