BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Spiza americana
POPULATION: 27 million
HABITAT: Open grasslands, including prairies or pastures, and overgrown weedy fields. Uses wetlands and marshes during migration
The male Dickcissel resembles a big sparrow or miniature meadowlark, with a black, V-shaped throat patch contrasting with its bright yellow breast. This bird is named for its loud, persistent song: “dick-dick-ciss-ciss-ciss.” Dickcissels are long-distance Neotropical migrants, spending their winters in the llanos (central plains) of Venezuela.
Like other grassland species, including Northern Bobwhite and Loggerhead Shrike, the Dickcissel has been impacted by habitat loss and pesticide use. Dickcissels also risk colliding with towers, turbines, and glass during their nocturnal migrations.