The saltmarsh sparrow (Ammospiza caudacuta) is a small New World sparrow found in salt marshes along the Atlantic coast of the United States. At one time, this bird and the Nelson's sparrow (Ammospiza nelsoni) were thought to be a single species, the sharp-tailed sparrow. Because of this, the species was briefly known as the "saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrow." Saltmarsh sparrow numbers are declining due to habitat loss largely attributed to human activity.
The saltmarsh sparrow measures 11–14 cm in length. Adults have brownish upperparts with a gray nape, white throat and belly, and pale orange breast and sides with brown streaking. The face is orange with gray cheeks, a gray median crown stripe, brown lateral crown stripes, and a brown eyeline. The tail feathers are short and sharply pointed.
Distinguishing this species from closely related sparrows such as the Nelson's sparrow can be difficult. The inland subspecies of the Nelson's sparrow can be differentiated by its fainter streaking and brighter orange breast and sides, while the coastal subspecies of the Nelson's sparrow can be differentiated by its paler, less-contrasting plumage. The saltmarsh sparrow also has a slightly longer beak than the Nelson's sparrow.