Eastern Meadowlark

Sturnella magna

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Code 4

EAME

Code 6

STUMAG

ITIS

Egg Color:

Pale pink with brown and lavender speckles



Number of Eggs:

3 - 7



Incubation Days:

13 - 14



Egg Incubator:

Both sexes



Nest Location:

On ground.



Nest Material:

Dried grasses, pine needles, horsehair, and plant stems.



Migration:

Northern birds migrate



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General

Eastern Meadowlark: Short, stocky ground-dwelling bird with buff- and black-streaked, brown upperparts. Head has black-and-white striped crown, white face, black eyestripe and a sharply pointed bill. Throat to belly is bright yellow with broad black V on breast. Tail is brown with white edges and undertail coverts. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is paler yellow with black spots on underparts.

Range and Habitat

Eastern Meadowlark: Breeds from southeastern Canada through eastern U.S. west to Arizona; resident in the Bahamas and Mexico. Spends winters mostly within breeding range. Preferred habitats include pastures, meadows, grassy fields, prairies, open country, and country roadsides. Often seen singing from fence posts or utility wires.

Breeding and Nesting

Eastern Meadowlark: Three to seven pale pink eggs with brown and lavender spots are laid in a nest made of dried grass, pine needles, horsehair, and plant stems; nest is domed-shaped with a side entrance and built on the ground in a meadow, crop field, or weedy orchard. Incubation ranges from 13 to 14 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Eastern Meadowlark: Feeds mostly on insects and other invertebrates; also eats seeds and berries. Forages on the ground; finds food by gaping (forcibly opening bill) in soil or in plant stalks to expose hidden prey.

Vocalization

Eastern Meadowlark: Song is a whistling "see-you-see-yer" or "spring is here" which it sings while perched on a fence post, tree, pole, or on the ground. Also utters harsh alarming notes to proclaim territory.

Similar Species

Eastern Meadowlark: Western Meadowlark is duller, has yellow throat extending slightly farther onto face, and different voice.

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
CrownX
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X