Western Meadowlark

Sturnella neglecta

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Code 4

WEME

Code 6

STUNEG

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Western Meadowlark is a medium blackbird that looks much like the Eastern Meadowlark. Preferred breeding habitats include grasslands, prairies and open fields. Their range extends from central North America to northern Mexico. Nests are built on the ground and covered with a roof made of grass, making them well-camouflaged. Northern populations will migrate during winter months to the southern portion of their range. Food is foraged on the ground, and typically includes insects, seeds and berries. This is also the state bird of Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon and Wyoming. The conservation status of the Western Meadowlark is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Western Meadowlark: This short stocky, ground-dwelling bird has dark-streaked brown upperparts, bright yellow underparts, and a broad black V on the breast. It has a dark brown-and-white striped crown, sharply pointed bill and brown tail with white edges. Feeds mostly on insects but also eats seeds. Flies low, with rapid shallow stiff wing beats followed by short glides. Sexes are similar.


Range and Habitat

Western Meadowlark: Breeds from British Columbia, Manitoba, northern Michigan, and northwestern Ohio south to Missouri, central Texas, and northern Mexico; has spread eastward in recent years. Spends winters in much of its breeding range north to southern British Columbia, Utah, and Arkansas. Preferred habitats include meadows, plains, and prairies.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"shee-oo-e-lee shee-ee le-ee"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Western Meadowlark was first described in 1844 by Audubon.
  • A male usually has two mates at the same time. The females do all the incubation and brooding, and most of the feeding of the young.
  • Although it looks nearly identical to the Eastern Meadowlark, the two species rarely hybridize. Mixed pairs usually occur only at the edge of the range where few mates are available.
  • A group of meadowlarks are collectively known as a "pod" of meadowlarks.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Western Meadowlark

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
CrownX
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X