Fun Lapland Longspur Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Feb 08, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde
Lapland longspur facts are fascinating to read.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.8 Min

A Lapland longspur, also known as a Lapland bunting and Calcarius lapponicus, is one of the most common small birds found in the Arctic tundra. It belongs to the order Passeriformes and the family Calcariidae. Their streaked body, bold black head, and chestnut nape give them a distinct and striking appearance. These birds migrate in flocks during the winter and return back to the Arctic near the onset of spring. Laplands are the most common among the longspurs species. Smiths's longspurs and chestnut-collared longspurs are other similar species of the order Passeriformes and the family Calcariidae. These ground-feeding birds are found all over North America. Their population has been stable, but in recent years, their species have had to bear the brunt of global warming.

Keep reading to learn more about these birds and how climate change has played a role in their physiological development. If you like reading about birds, be sure to check out lark bunting and cockatiel.  

Lapland Longspur Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Lapland longspur?

A Lapland longspur is a type of bird.

What class of animal does a Lapland longspur belong to?

These birds belong to the class Aves and the family Calcariidae.

How many Lapland longspurs are there in the world?

The population of this bird is somewhere between 50,000,000 to 199,999,999.

Where does a Lapland longspur live?

Similar to snow buntings, the breeding range of this bird includes the Arctic Islands, Alaska, and Quebec. During the winter, flocks of this type of bird are often found in northeast California, northern Arizona, Texas, Canada, and New York. They can also be found in northern Eurasia.

What is a Lapland longspur's habitat?

During summer, Laplands can be found in large flocks among various high Arctic tundra habitats. The thickly vegetated areas, sedge marshes, and especially wet tundra are often visited by these birds during breeding. For their winter habitat, they live in various grassy beaches, prairies, and pastures.

Who do Lapland longspurs live with?

Lapland longspurs can be found in huge flocks of birds in the high Arctic tundra region. They flock with snow buntings, American pipits, and horned larks during winter and forage together with them. Males can also be found in single numbers during the breeding season.

How long does a Lapland longspur live?

A Lapland longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) has a lifespan of two to three years. The oldest known Lapland longspur to live reached five years of age.

How do they reproduce?

Lapland longspurs breed during the summer. As the breeding season in the Arctic summer is short, the courtship happens quickly. Male longspurs arrive and mark the nesting grounds before a female arrives. Once a female arrives, they start building their nest on the ground. Their open cup shape nest is made up mostly of grass, sedge, moss, and lined with fine sedge, feathers, and grass. A Lapland longspur female lays three to seven eggs and is the one responsible for incubating them for 10 to 13 days. The eggs are pale gray in color with dark markings all over them. The chicks are fed by both parents and they leave the nest eight to 10 days after being born.

What is their conservation status?

Lapland longspurs have a stable population. These longspurs (Calcarius lapponicus) have been listed in the Least Concern category by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN.

Lapland Longspur Fun Facts

What do Lapland longspurs look like?

Streaked Lapland species have distinct streaks which extend from the back tail to the tip of their tail. The male breeding plumage features a black face, bordered by a bright yellowish-white line and a vibrant rufous patch. A Lapland longspur winter plumage is paler in color and its body becomes a dull streaked brown in winter. In contrast to most birds having varied breeding and non-breeding plumage, Lapland longspurs molt only once a year.Lapland longspur facts are interesting to read about.


How cute are they?

This North American bird appears to be quite cute. Its distinct streaks add to its beauty.

How do they communicate?

These North American birds use five to six different whistled bird calls. They have rattling calls that are sweet and warbling.  These calls differ from location to location. Their songs are short and are often made from a perch or a rock. Males can be heard singing with their outstretched wings. Their flight call, 'ticky-tik', 'ticker-tik-tik', is followed with a short 'teu'. During breeding, this bird can be heard making a soft 'duyee' sound.  

How big is a Lapland longspur?

Lapland longspurs have a length of 5.9-6.3 in (14.9-16 cm) and a wingspan of 8.7-11.4 in (22.1-28.9 cm) which is slightly bigger than a chestnut sparrow.

How fast can a Lapland longspur fly?

There has not been enough research conducted to calculate the speed of Lapland longspurs. The flight of these birds is known to be very powerful. They make use of their rapid wingbeats and pointed wings to travel long distances.

How much does a Lapland longspur weigh?

Lapland Longspurs weight about  0.8-1.2 oz (22.6-34 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

A male bird is called a 'cock' and a female bird is called a 'hen'.

What would you call a baby Lapland longspur?

Baby Lapland longspurs are referred to as 'fledglings' or 'chicks'.

What do they eat?

This species mostly consumes seeds and insects. During the summer, arthropods constitute the majority of their diet. Crane flies, beetles, and true bugs are some of their common prey. Lapland longspur consume approximately 3,000 to 10,000 seeds and insects per day. Their nestlings are fed close to about 3,000 insects each day. In their winter habitat, they consume a variety of seeds like the seeds of weeds, grasses, sedges, and wheat grain. These North American birds spend most of their days foraging for seeds from the ground. They crouch low on the ground to catch their prey and can run at a fast speed.

Are they dangerous?

Lapland longspurs are not dangerous and do not cause any harm to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

A Lapland bunting cannot be kept as a pet. These birds are migratory and travel both during the day as well as the night and cannot be kept in captivity.

Did you know...

Male longspurs mostly sing early in the morning.

Lapland longspurs form flocks in very large numbers. Their winter flocks may contain as many as four million birds. They migrate with other birds who live in the Arctic tundra such as snow buntings.

A 'grass display' is performed by males in which different types of moss and grass are collected and given to females in a bid to grab their attention.

What makes a bird a longspur?

These birds are known as longspurs due to their elongated claws on their hind toes. They have long wings and a bright breeding plumage.

What are the threats facing Lapland longspurs?

Climate change is one of the major threats facing the population of the Lapland longspur species as well as many others residing in the Arctic. Extreme weather events are a cause of concern. During heavy snowstorms, longspurs have a higher level of stress-induced corticosterone concentrations. This might lead to delayed spring migration. Apart from snowstorms, increased rainfall also has an impact on these birds and oftentimes can lead to a female laying a reduced number of eggs. Also

Another threat to these birds is predators like Cooper's hawks and brown-headed cowbirds.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including whimbrel, or puffin.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Lapland Longspur coloring pages.


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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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