Lincoln’s Sparrow

Lincoln’s Sparrows are widespread breeders through much of Alaska south of the Brooks Range. Their normal breeding range does not extend out to the coast of the Bering Sea or into the base of the Alaska Peninsula however, and the species is merely casual on offshore Bering Sea Islands and the Aleutians. All records from the Bering Sea have occurred in fall. A single bird found in Zapadnie Ravine on September 23, 2003 furnished the first Pribilof record. During the fall survey of 2004, a second bird was found, on September 17. Both birds were incredibly furtive, and despite intensive searching, neither individual was seen again. As these birds were difficult to see well, this species might be confused with several old-world Buntings. The breast and flanks of Lincoln’s Sparrows are finely streaked and suffused with a buffy wash; in addition, the species shows a wide supercilium, and often a slight crest. Immature Little Buntings are huskier, with reddish ear coverts that are well framed in black, a white throat, white in the outer tail feathers and heavy streaking in the underparts. All other likely old world Buntings show white in the tail. Although unrecorded in the Bering Sea region Swamp Sparrows could potentially reach the island. The extensively reddish wing coverts, grayish unstreaked breast and rusty flanks should help to identify a vagrant Swamp Sparrow.