Sprague’s Pipit is a difficult to detect ground-dwelling songbird of the prairies. This unassuming species has a plain buffy face, fine streaking around the neck, white wing-bars, and pale legs. Migration through Nebraska occurs from April to mid-May and mid-September to late October. This species forages mostly on the ground making it nearly invisible unless flushed. Observations of Sprague’s Pipits have occurred largely at a handful of locations in the state, although they are likely to occur at other locations with suitable grassland habitat.
Where to observe
- Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, Denton, NE
- Prairie Dog WPA, Axtell, NE
Viewing tips & etiquette
During their peak migration, walk slowly through grassy areas and watch for a plain buffy bird with white outer tail feathers to flush from the ground. Listen for the Sprague’s Pipit call note, a rapid squeaky squeet, as they may fly overhead while walking through a prairie.
Sprague’s Pipit photo by Phil Swanson.