Status: Fairly common regular spring and fall migrant east, rare central, accidental west.
Documentation: Specimen: UNSM ZM7313, 20 Apr 1901 Havelock, Lancaster Co.
Taxonomy: This species and Nelson’s Sparrow were moved from Ammodramus to the new genus Ammospiza based on genetic studies that indicated former Ammodramus was paraphyletic (Chesser et al 2018).
No subspecies are currently recognized (Pyle 1997).
The correct spelling “LeConte’s” was discussed by Chesser et al (2017).
Spring: Mar 30,31 (Swenk, Notes Before 1925), Apr 2 (specimen, UNSM ZM12194) <<<>>> May 20,21,22
Migration is from mid-Apr through mid-May, although there are these very early records: one was in Clay Co 5 Mar 2000 (Jorgensen 2012), Peru Bottoms WMA, Nemaha Co 9 Mar 2016, Rowe Sanctuary, Buffalo Co 13 Mar 2010, Saunders Co 18 Mar 2018, Buffalo Co 23 Mar 2018, and a specimen (UNSM ZM10448) was taken in Lancaster Co 17 Mar 1909. Such early migrants may have wintered in the area or nearby; arrival of migrants in Kansas is in mid-Mar (Thompson et al 2011). See Comments.
Westerly reports are of one at Avocet WMA, Grant Co 17 May 2010 and one at Frye Lake, Grant Co 15 May 2009.
Fall: Sep 14,15,16 <<<>>> Nov 13,14,15
Migration is from mid-Sep through late Oct. One was photographed in Douglas Co 26 Nov 2016.
Westerly were one at Crescent Lake NWR, Garden Co 19 Sep 1968, the only Panhandle record for the species, one in Lincoln Co 28 Sep 1934 (Tout 1947), two juveniles in Custer Co 1-8 Oct 2012, one in Red Willow Co 7 Oct 2002, and one in Custer Co 10 Oct 2009.
- High counts: 158 at Harvard Marsh 19 Oct 2009, 50 at Spring Creek Prairie 18 Oct 2008, 40 at Jack Sinn Memorial WMA, Lancaster Co 27 Oct 1998, and 40 at Kirkpatrick Basin North WMA, York Co 18 Sep 1999 (Jorgensen 2012).
Comments: One with Song Sparrows in northeast Douglas Co 12 Feb 2013 (Silcock 2013) may have wintered there or arrived early from a nearby wintering area; this species winters regularly in southeast Kansas (Thompson et al 2011) and there are several Feb reports on eBird, all within the last few winters (eBird.org, accessed April 2018), suggesting that wintering birds may soon be expected in southeast Nebraska.
UNSM: University of Nebraska State Museum
WMA: Wildlife Management Area (State)
Chesser, R.T., K.J. Burns, C. Cicero, J.L. Dunn, A.W. Kratter, I.J. Lovette, P.C. Rasmussen, J. V. Remsen, Jr., J.D. Rising, D.F. Stotz, and K. Winker. 2017. Fifty-eighth supplement to the American Ornithological Society’s Check-list of North American Birds. Auk 134: 751-773.
Chesser, R.T., K.J. Burns, C. Cicero, J.L. Dunn, A.W. Kratter, I.J. Lovette, P.C. Rasmussen, J. V. Remsen, Jr., D.F. Stotz, B.M. Winger, and K. Winker. 2018. Fifty-ninth Supplement to the American Ornithological Society’s Check-list of North American Birds. Auk 135: 798-813.
Jorgensen, J.G. 2012. Birds of the Rainwater Basin, Nebraska. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.
Silcock, W.R. 2013. Winter Field Report, December 2012 to February 2013. NBR 81: 2-20.
Swenk, M.H. Notes before 1925. Bird notes from A.M. Brooking of Hastings, C.A. Black of Kearney, and B.J. Olson of Kearney, based chiefly on their collections, up to January 1, 1925. Typed manuscript in the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union Archives, University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.
Thompson, M.C., C.A. Ely, B. Gress, C. Otte, S.T. Patti, D. Seibel, and E.A. Young. 2011. Birds of Kansas. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.
Tout, W. 1947. Lincoln County birds. Published by the author, North Platte, Nebraska, USA.
Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2018. LeConte’s Sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii), Version 1.0. In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org