Western Meadowlark

Sturnella neglecta




Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pale pink with brown and lavender speckles.

Number of Eggs:

3 - 7

Incubation Days:

13 - 15

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

Against clump of grass or weeds.

Nest Material:

Dried grass and plant stems


Northern birds migrate



Western Meadowlark: Short, stocky ground-dwelling bird with dark-streaked brown upperparts and bright yellow underparts with broad black V on breast. Crown is dark brown-and-white striped; dark eye stripe behind eye with yellow in front of the eye. Bill is long and sharply pointed. Tail is brown with white edges. Sexes are similar. Female is duller. Juvenile is paler, particularly in the yellow areas of plumage. Breast band is replaced with dark streaking; black spotting on underparts; bill is pink and has a dark tip.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Western Meadowlark: Three to seven brown and lavender spotted, pale pink eggs are laid in a domed cup of grass and stems concealed in grass or weeds. Incubation ranges from 13 to 15 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Western Meadowlark: Food is obtained from the top of the ground by probing beneath the soil and searching under clods or manure. Their diet consists largely of grain, weed seeds, and insects including beetles, weevils, wireworms, cutworms, grasshoppers and crickets; they also eat snails and spiders. Pebbles are taken to aid in the digestion of grain.


Western Meadowlark: Song is a rich, flute-like jumble of gurgling notes, usually descending the scale.

Similar Species

Western Meadowlark: Eastern Meadowlark has a darker body, more white on outer tail feathers, and yellow throat does not extend into malar.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
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