Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Thick-billed Longspur - Rhynchophanes mccownii
Calcariidae Members:
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General Comments Accidental. This is a species of the short-grass prairies, nesting just east of Rocky Mountains in the northwestern portions of the Great Plains and wintering in the southern Plains and barely into Mexico. It was formerly named as the McCown's Longspur but, owing to "political correctness", was controversially renamed to Thick-billed Longspur, in 2020. Fortunately for Captain John McCown, an American army officer who collected the first specimen in 1851, but who later fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War, his memory will forever be remembered in the scientific epithet, which by scientific rule cannot be changed. There are very few records for the eastern United States, but one was discovered on the south side of Oregon Inlet at Pea Island NWR (Dare) on 22 Oct 2021. It lingered until 29 Oct and was seen and photographed by dozens of birders [Chat 86:41 link]. It has not yet been reviewed by the NC BRC, but photos are posted on the CBC Photo Gallery and on many eBird reports.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Provisional
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SA
Global Rank G4
Coastal Plain One record (see above).
Piedmont No records.
Mountains No records.
Finding Tips
Attribution LeGrand[2022-02-09], LeGrand[2022-02-08]