Image: Dave Rintoul, 2007 [larger view].
Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.
Rick Wright, Managing Director of WINGS Birding Tours Worldwide, writes:
This is a small, medium-tailed, fat-bodied, big-headed, huge-billed sparrow. And that’s probably enough: many birders would be able to identify this bird just from that description without even looking at this terrifically beautiful portrait of a Henslow’s Sparrow.
For confirmation, we can look at the extensive rust in the wings, the olive wash to the nape, the neat breastband, and the well-defined lateral throat and moustachial stripes (the “double whisker”). Baird’s Sparrow, a surprisingly similar species, lacks the rufous in the tertials and shows clear streaking on the brownish nape.
Henslow’s Sparrow has long been a bird to worry about, in steep decline along with its specialized habitat of extensive grassy fields with tall forbs for singing. Its salvation in the east has been the recuperation of old strip mines, while the species gives every sign of recovery in tallgrass prairies remnants in the Midwest. Careful grassland management can save this bird, and the Dickcissels, Grasshopper Sparrows, and Regal Fritillaries it shares its weedy home with.
Review all mystery birds to date.