Saltmarsh Sparrow

Ammospiza caudacuta

Order:
Passeriformes
Family:
Passerellidae
Sections

Tables and Appendices

Welcome to the Birds of North America Online!

You are currently viewing one of the free species accounts available in our complimentary tour of Birds of North America. In this courtesy review, you can access all the life history articles and the multimedia galleries associated with this species.

For complete access to all species accounts, a subscription is required.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Sign In

Table 1

Foreign encounters of Saltmarsh Sparrows in non-banding states along the Atlantic coast (data courtesy of the Bird Banding Laboratory).

Bnd_Date (Status1)

Bnd_Year

Bnd_State

Enc_Date (Status1)

Enc_Year

Enc_State

16 Jul (B)

2012

RI

17 Apr (M/W)

2015

SC

16 Jul (B)

2012

RI

7 Apr (W?)

2013

SC

13 Jul (B)

2012

ME

31 Jan (W)

2014

FL

3 Jun (B)

2003

CT

25 Apr (M)

2004

SC

11 Aug (B)

1933

NJ

n.d.

 

NC

10 Jun (B)

2014

NJ

16 Apr (M/W)

2015

SC

3 Aug (B)

2011

MA

18 Apr (M/W)

2012

SC

3 Aug (B)

2011

MA

13 Feb (W)

2013

SC

1 Aug (B)

2012

NY

10 Mar (W)

2013

SC

7 Nov (M)

2010

SC

6 Oct (B?)

2011

CT

7 Nov (M)

2010

SC

18 Oct (B?)

2011

CT

15 Dec (M?)

2012

SC

21 May (B)

2013

CT

29 Mar (W)

2009

VA

16 Jul (B)

2009

RI

29 Mar (W)

2009

VA

26 May (B)

2011

RI

22 Feb (W)

2012

SC

20 May (B)

2012

CT

22 Feb (W)

2012

SC

30 May (B)

2012

CT

22 Feb (W)

2012

SC

12 Jun (B)

2013

CT

23 Jan (W)

2012              

SC

15 Jun (B)

2012

MA

1 Seasonal status: B, breeding grounds; M, migrant; W, wintering grounds.

Abbreviations or symbols: Bnd, Banding; Enc, Encounter; n.d., missing date; ?, status query. Bolded dates may represent the same birds reported by Borowske (2015).

Table 2

Importance of prey found in stomachs of adult Saltmarsh Sparrows during the breeding season (15 May-31 Aug) and during postbreeding and migration periods (Sep-Oct), expressed as relative volume (%) in the sample. Data from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, D.C.

Season  

Breeding

(n = 20)

Postbreeding

(n = 12)

Prey      
Insects/adults 31.3 35.7
  larval 10.8 0.5
  eggs 1.8  –
Amphipods   23.7 23.8
Mollusks   3.6 4.2
Spiders   20.8 5.4
Plant parts   30.3
Other   8 0.1

Table 3

Extreme seasonal first egg datesa by region  in Saltmarsh Sparrow across global range.

Location  n  Earliest and latest reported dates Source
Maryland 6 14 May – 21 August Stewart & Robbins 1958
Delaware 7 May – August (27 May [earlier nests?]; Latest nest, young ready to fledge, 26 August) Hess et al. 2000
New Jersey 24 22 May – 21 August Hill 1968
  703 08 May - 04 August K. Ruskin, in litt.
New York ? 09 May- 21 August Hill 1968
  248b 14 May – 17 August JSG, unpublished data
  274 13 May –  7 August K. Ruskin, in litt.
Connecticut 60 24 May – 14 Jul [likely late-truncated] Hill 1968
  184 19 May – 31 Jul K. Ruskin, in litt.
Rhode Island 44b 31 May – 12 August DeRagon 1988
  44 21 May – 13 August  
  22 25 May – 3 August  
  89 26 May – 10 August  
  62 20 May –  19 July K. Ruskin, in litt.
Massachusetts 12 9 June – 12 July [truncated early and late] Hill 1968
  101 31 May – 9 August K. Ruskin, in litt.
New Hampshire 284 30 May – 11 August K. Ruskin, in litt.
Maine 515 23 May-17 August K. Ruskin, in litt.

aNew York (JSG) and Rhode Island dates represent first egg laid in earliest or latest nests; all others are unspecified (perhaps earliest and latest dates nests found with eggs).

bJSG sample size in New York pooled across 4 years; sample sizes in Rhode Island for

four study areas pooled across 2 years.

cUnpublished data from Ruskin (2015), Ruskin et al. (2017), pooled across four years (2011-15). Criteria were for nests observed during laying or for those found later that hatched.

Table 4

Clutch size information from 23 sites studied by the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program, 2011-2013 (Ruskin et al. 2017; SHARP unpubl. data). Clutch sizes of 1 and >5 excluded; former assumed to be incomplete and their exclusion removes some cases of partial loss prior to discovery; larger clutches potentially involve multiple females.

Study site

State

Total nests

Mean clutch size

SD

Mode

Oyster Creek

NJ

30

3.55

0.62

4

Mullica Wilderness

NJ

70

3.45

0.62

4

AT&T

NJ

68

3.53

0.71

4

Idlewild

NY

6

4.71

0.49

5

Four Sparrow Marsh

NY

15

3.86

0.77

4

Sawmill Creek

NY

26

3.73

0.78

4

Marine Nature Park

NY

10

3.90

0.88

3

East River

CT

60

3.57

0.78

4

Hammonasset

CT

50

3.61

0.61

4

Pattaganset

CT

5

3.80

0.45

4

Waterford

CT

1

3.00

NA

3

Barn Island

CT

33

3.84

0.81

4

John H Chaffee

RI

28

3.56

0.75

4

Sachuest Point

RI

20

3.90

0.85

4

Parker River

MA

26

3.73

0.78

4

Lubberland Creek

NH

25

3.63

0.65

4

Chapman's Landing

NH

129

3.48

0.70

4

Jones Creek

ME

78

3.68

0.72

4

Nonesuch River

ME

28

4.07

0.78

4

Libby River

ME

4

4.50

1.00

5

Eldridge Road

ME

60

3.82

0.70

4

Little River

ME

4

4.50

0.71

4

Scarborough Marsh

ME

58

3.72

0.86

4

Table 5

Apparent nest success and daily nest survival (DNS) of Saltmarsh Sparrows in the northeastern USA from studies conducted prior to 2004; nest success averages higher than in more recent studies (see text for details).

Source

Years of study

State

N (nests)

Success (%)

DNS

Post & Greenlaw 1982

1977-1980

NY

176

27

0.94

DeRagon 1988

1981-1982

RI

101

441

0.96

DiQuinzo et al. 2002

1993-1998

RI

136

27

0.942

Gjerdrum et al. 2005

2002-2003

CT

125

27

0.94

Greenberg et al. 20063

2002-2003

MD

18

36

0.95

Shriver et al. 2007

1998-2001

ME

69

53

0.97

1DeRagon (1988) reported a crude success rate. Greenberg et al. (2006) estimated a corrected value (100-56% total loss) from a regression of Mayfield rates on crude rates.

2DNS over a 21-day nest-cycle.

3Data originally from P. Marra and B. Schmeling (unpublished).

Table 6

Estimated saltmarsh sparrow population sizes, by state (north to south), based on surveys of 1780 point locations in 582 saltmarsh patches conducted during 2011-12 combined with modelling results (from Hodgman et al. 2015, Wiest et al. unpublished data). *Estimates for MD and VA only include marshes east of the Chesapeake Bay.

Region

Population estimate (±95% CI)

Maine

1,600 (± 1,200)

New Hampshire

1,100 (± 1,700)

Massachusetts

6,200 (± 2,700)

Rhode Island

900 (± 3,000)

Connecticut

1,600 (± 800)

New York

5,200 (± 1,200)

New Jersey

19,900 (± 13,600)

Delaware

4,100 (± 4,400)

Maryland*

15,100 (±13,300)

Virginia*

4,200 (±2,500)

Appendix 1

Measurements (mm) with mean (SD; range) of Saltmarsh Sparrows from 5 localities. Sample size = n (male/female).

    Popham Beach Plum Island Long Island E. B. Forsythe NWR Prime Hook    
    Maine Massachusetts New York New Jersey Delaware    
    43° 45' 42° 45' 40° 37' 39° 30' 38° 50'    
    n = 18/2 n = 16/5 = 14/7 n = 12/7 n = 19/–    
Wing1                
  Male 58 (2.29; 53-62) 61 (2.26; 56-64) 60 (2.28; 55-64) 60 (2.02; 58-65) 59 (1.54; 57-63)    
  Female – (–; 59-60) 57 (1.14; 56-59) 58 (3.39; 53-62) 58 (3.30; 54-65)    
Tail2                
  Male 52 (2.25; 48-56) 51 (2.06; 48-55) 50 (1.99; 47-55) 50 (2.37; 48-56) 48 (2.31; 46-56)    
  Female – (–; 45-47) 50 (2.31; 48-52) 49 (2.92; 44-51) 48 (1.21; 46-49)    
Tarsus3                
  Male 20.6 (0.67; 19.4-22.3) 20.5 (0.75; 19.8-22.1) 20.1 (0.70; 19.1-21.0) 20.9 (0.74; 19.5-21.8) 20.4 (0.39; 19.5-20.8)    
  Female – (–; 19.3-20.5) 21.3 (1.51; 18.7-22.4) 20.1 (1.04; 18.0-20.7) 19.9 (0.69; 18.8-20.7)    
Bill4                
  Male 9.0 (0.35; 8.4-9.6) 9.4 (0.29; 9.0-10.1) 9.2 (0.32; 8.7-9.9) 9.2 (0.26; 8.7-9.5) 9.2 (0.37; 8.4-9.9)    
  Female – (–; 8.9-9.4) 9.5 (0.23; 9.2-9.8) 9.3 (0.34; 8.9-9.9) 9.3 (0.38; 9.0-10.1)    
                 
Toe5                
  Male 14.4 (1.31; 11.2-16.3) 14.7 (0.86; 13.3-16.1) 14.1 (0.60; 13.0-15.3) 14.1 (0.75; 12.3-15.2) 14.3 (0.51; 13.4-15.4)    
  Female – (–; 14.0-14.6) 14.7 (1.02; 13.4-16.2) 15.0 (0.87; 14.1-16.0) 15.2 (0.88; 13.8-16.1)    
Mass6                
  Male 18.6 (1.27; 16.4-20.3) 21.1 (0.79; 19.8-22.1) 20.1 (1.01; 18.2-22.6) 20.3 (0.88; 18.7-21.7) 19.9 (0.74; 18.5-21.4)    
  Female – (–; 15.1-16.4) 19.8 (1.84; 17.6-21.7) 18.8 (1.69; 16.6-21.6) 18.8 (1.35; 17.1-20.5)    

Data by J. D. Rising in Greenlaw and Rising (1994). Popham Beach, Maine, lies within the hybrid zone with A. nelsoni.

1Flattened wing (wing arc)

2Insertion to tip of longest feather

3To last undivided scute

4From anterior edge of nostril

5Hallux and claw

6g (Royal Ontario Museum)

Recommended Citation

Greenlaw, J. S., C. S. Elphick, W. Post, and J. D. Rising (2018). Saltmarsh Sparrow (Ammospiza caudacuta), version 2.1. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.sstspa.02.1