Henslow's Sparrows are difficult to find because they hide or fly away when people approach. From a distance you might see males sitting on a tall reed or fence post singing to protect their territory.
A Henslow's Sparrow is 4 3/4 to 5 1/2 inches long. It is notable for an olive face, rusty sides and wings, and white streaks on its head. There are two dark streaks on the sides of the throat one behind each eye. It has a short ail and pale bill.
Habitat and behavior:
Henslow's Sparrows live in remnants of prairies and in unmowed hay fields. They nest in loose colonies. The nest is cup-shaped, formed near the ground in the grass. The female lays 3 to 5 eggs of pale green with red-brown splotches. They hatch in 10-11 days. This sparrow migrates to the southern United States in October and returns to Illinois in April.
Henslow's Sparrows eat grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, moths, ants, flies, and other insects. The young eat larva and soft abdomens of larger insects.
In Illinois Henslow's Sparrow if federally endangered because of habitat loss. Because is federally listed as endangered, there is a national recovery plan for this species.