Eastern Meadowlark

Sturnella magna




Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Code 4


Code 6



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.


Northern birds migrate



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.


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 has a thinner breastband, paler underparts, yellow throat extends farther onto face, and voice is different.


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

Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
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.
The upper front part of a bird.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
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