Species Assessment for Brewer's Sparrow (Spizella Breweri) in Wyoming

Publication Information

Paula L Hansley
Publication Date: 2004-09
Tags: WLCI, WLCI Agency Report, BLM


The Brewer’s Sparrow (Spizella breweri) has significantly declined throughout its breeding 
range in the last 25 years (Ashley and Stoval 2004).  Despite being thought of by many as the 
most common bird in spring and summer in shrubsteppe habitat, the Brewer’s Sparrow has been 
given special conservation status in several western states, including Wyoming (Knick and 
Rotenberry 2000).  Habitat fragmentation and other processes threaten Brewer’s Sparrow 
populations in several ways.  In this report, shrubsteppe is defined as habitat with a “…codominance of sagebrush [Artemesia spp.] and native bunch grass and moderate shrub cover” (B. 
Walker, personal communication).  
This report reviews key published literature, identifies experts and current research on the 
Brewer’s Sparrow, and presents existing information on the distribution, biology, ecological niche, 
and conservation planning being conducted for this species on state and range-wide scales.  
Included is a brief discussion of the controversy of species versus subspecies status and ecological 
niche for the subspecies S. b. taverneri (Timberline Sparrow), which breeds at high elevations in 
Alaska, Canada, and western Montana and may breed at high elevations in Wyoming (S. Jones, 
personal communication).  In this assessment, unless specifically noted, the subspecies being 
discussed is S. b. breweri.


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