SCIENTIFIC NAME:Centronyx henslowii POPULATION: 390,000 TREND: Decreasing HABITAT: Breeds in weedy grasslands with scattered scrubs; winters in coastal savanna or Longleaf Pine forest. Requires dense groundcover in all seasons.
Henslow’s Sparrow has a unique olive-green head and nape, it often goes unnoticed. The birds take flight only reluctantly, preferring to run through the grass when threats appear. The best way to find this bird is by listening for its very distinctive song, a quiet, abrupt “see-LICK” that sounds for all the world like an avian hiccup.
Although males establishing territories sit within binocular range while singing this odd song, they often remain unseen. Henslow’s Sparrows most often “hiccup” from deep within the brushy, grassy habitat the species favors. And they are very persistent singers: Males sometimes sing every few seconds, day and night, around the clock. Deep in the night on a quiet prairie, these brief songs and insect noises will often be the only sounds.