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Bird Grasshopper (Schistocerca spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Bird Grasshopper

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Image Credit: Barry W. from Paige, TX
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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
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This type of large, plant-eating grasshopper can be a pest, and various species are found from coast to coast.

Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Strong fliers and sometimes quite large, it is no mystery why this type of grasshopper is compared to birds. The pale body is ideal for blending in with grasses and stems, but crops are also food sources for Bird Grasshoppers, which are often referred to as locusts. In large numbers, they are pests, but in North America, their impact does not devastate. They have short antennae and overlapping plaits on the legs. Many species look so similar it is near impossible to tell them apart in the field. Small red dots are actually mites, which can help control the number of grasshoppers.

Nymphs are young grasshoppers, and they look just like small versions of adults with short wings, or no visible wings at that stage. They may be pale or even white depending on how young they are. Congregations can be made of grasshoppers in multiple life stages. Despite the various species on this continent, only one shows authentic swarming behavior.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Insect antennae icon
Flying insect icon
Jumping insect icon
Patterned insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Orthoptera
        Family: Acrididae
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          Genus: Schistocerca
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            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Schistocerca spp.
Category: Grasshopper or Cricket
Size (Adult; Length): 25mm to 50mm (0.98" to 1.96")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: tan; brown; orange; green; yellow; red
Descriptors: flying; jumping; short antennae; red dot mites; locust; big; long

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 25mm (1.0in) and 50mm (2.0in)
Lo: 25mm
Md: 37.5mm
Hi: 50mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Bird Grasshopper may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Bird Grasshopper. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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