Wildlife - Species

Bachman's Sparrow (Peucaea aestivalis)

Bachman's Sparrow, by Carl Miller
Photo by Carl Miller


A sparrow nearly 6 inches in length with reddish streaks on the back and a plain or buff colored breast. They have a large, mostly dark colored bill, with a thin dark line extending from the back of the eye. Bachman’s sparrows exhibit shy behavior, flushing and dropping quickly back into the brush. The sexes are similar. This species was named after Reverend John Bachman, a Lutheran minister and naturalist who often collaborated with John Audubon in the 1800s.


Song is usually one or two clear whistles followed by a series of 5 or more different notes of a different pitch like "chip, chip, chip, chip, chip, chip". See Bird-Sounds.net for recordings of 602 species of bird calls in the U.S. and Canada. There are also a number of apps available that will identify bird sounds.

Habitat and Food

Dry, open pine or hardwood forests with abundant native grasses. Ideal habitat results from frequent burning. May be seen in powerline rights-of-way and other open areas. Food includes primarily grass seeds and some insects. Forages mostly on the ground, rarely above the ground in low shrubs.


Bachman’s sparrows are year-round residents, including nesting season, in most of South Carolina and the Southeast. Populations may become spottier outside the coastal plain. Nests are generally constructed on the ground, often at the base of native grass clumps or other ground vegetation. Three-five eggs are generally laid, and most females are believed to attempt to nest at least 2 times per season.


Amy Tegeler – Bird Conservation Coordinator

P.O. Box 23205
Columbia, SC 29224
Phone: (803) 521-2119

E-mail: TegelerA@dnr.sc.gov