Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2021-10

Common name:

Chestnut-collared Longspur

Scientific name: Calcarius ornatus
Date: 1-28-2021
Time: 4:18pm
Length of time observed: 2 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex: male
Location: Ogden Bay WMA
County: Weber
Latilong: 41.228559, -112.18337
Elevation: 4220
Distance to bird: 80m
Optical equipment: Kowa 20-60X Spotting Scope, Nikon 10x42 Binoculars
Weather: Overcast, calm, balmy 48F. 2inches of snow on the ground
Light Conditions: Good, Flat light
Description:        Size of bird: Small passerine
(Description:)       Basic Shape: typical passerine
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Mostly blackish
(Description:)            Bill Type: Granivore
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
I had seen a large flock of Horned Larks land on the playa to the north of the parking lot, so got my scope and walked toward them. As I approached I could hear the rattle calls of Lapland Longspurs when they would fly, once they settled and I got to a good vantage point I put the scope on the flock. Quickly I found both Lapland and McCown's Longspurs in a variety of plumages including males with black on the breast. As I was scoping I heard a different squeaky rattle call from the south, so turned around and got on 2 birds in flight, I watched one land in a flock of HOLA 80m to my north and then got the scope on it. It was a basic plumage adult male Chestnut-collared Longspur. Dingy blackish breast fading into gray belly, buffy throat , dark eyeline, whiteish supercilium, dark crown. Small bill (color not noted). Direct comparison with LALO and MCLO nearby. Flock flushed before I could get the camera on it, then would not resettle for 1/2 hour, unable to relocate bu
t heard again as I was walking back to car, near west parkinglot. The flight call of this Longspur was striking and distinctive, higher and squeakier than other Longspurs, the so called "Kettle" call. I had been hearing typical Lapland and McCown's Rattle calls for over an hour, this one immediately caught my ear as different, which ultimately got me on the bird to visually confirm. I should note, I never saw the upper side or spread tail of this bird.
Song or call & method of delivery: Heard distinctive flight calls several times, higher pitched and squeakier than other Longspur flight calls.
Behavior: Flew directly overhead calling, then landed in mixed flock of Horned Larks and Longspurs, after a couple minutes the whole flock flushed again and not able to relocate
Habitat: Mostly playa with pickleweed and saltgrass, some wetlands nearby
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Lapland Longspur(basic male): Black bib limited to upper breast, contrasting with white lower breast, belly and throat. Bold black auriculars, golden supercilium, black streaking on flanks. Direct comparison

McCown's[Thick-billed] Longspur(Basic male): Black on breast limited to bold triangle on upper breast, lower breast pale gray. White throat and supercilium, brown auriculars. Big headed and big billed. Direct Comparison

Smith's Longspur: no experience but should have buffy to orange torso with no black, bold auriculars
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Yes, I saw an adult male in alternate plumage in 2000
References consulted: Sibley app (for calls), Macaulay Library for photos
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Bryant Olsen
Observer's address: 84102
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: None
Date prepared: 1-28-2021
Additional material:  
Additional comments: eBird checklist: