Gray Bird Grasshopper

The gray bird grasshopper is closely related to the desert locust. However, it is nowhere near as destructive as that species. It lives in North America, where it feeds on several types of plants.

Scientific Classification

  • Class:Insecta
  • Order:Orthoptera
  • Family:Acrididae
  • Genus:Schistocerca
  • Scientific Name: S. nitens

Conservation Status

Not EvaluatedNE

Not Evaluated

Data DeficientDD

Data Deficient

Least ConcernLC

Least Concern

Near ThreatenedNT

Near Threatened





Critically EndangeredCR

Critically Endangered

Extinct in the wildEW

Extinct in the wild




Schistocerca nitens

Gray bird grasshoppers are 1.57 to 2.8 inches long. Their coloration is primarily brown and gray, with spots and patches giving them a cryptic appearance.

Other Common Names: Vagrant grasshopper

Distribution: Native – throughout the southern part of North America, including Mexico and part of the southern United States from California to Texas

Invasive – Colorado, Hawaii, Nebraska, parts of Central and South America

Vagrant Grasshopper

Habitat: Deserts, lowland mountainous areas, and woodlands

Do They Bite/Sting: No

Lifespan: 4 months

Predators: Birds

Behavior and Characteristics


These grasshoppers feed on a variety of vegetation.


While these grasshoppers appear clumsy during flight, this is deceptive. They are strong fliers and can travel effortlessly over long distances. Gray bird grasshoppers can fly 300 miles at least over oceans.

Life Cycle

1. Egg Stage

They overwinter during this stage.

Gray Bird Grasshopper Nymph

2. Nymph Stage

Nymphs hatch from spring to late summer and reach maturity in early autumn. Sometimes the immature grasshoppers will overwinter till the spring of next year.

Damage Caused by Them

While these grasshoppers do not swarm in large numbers, their population density can rise in favorable conditions. This leads to it becoming a menace to many crops and ornamental plants.

One of the notorious cases of an infestation occurred in Hawaii in 2004, when the island of Nihoa had 90% of its vegetation wiped out by the gray bird grasshopper.


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