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Chihuahuan Meadowlark

Silhouette MeadowlarksMeadowlarks
Chihuahuan MeadowlarkSturnella lilianae
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Icteridae

Basic Description

Chihuahuan Meadowlarks are easily overlooked birds, with their pale plumage helping them blend into the dry desert grasslands of the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico. They come to life in flight, revealing a bold black “V” on a vibrant yellow breast and flashing white outer tail feathers. Males alight on perches to give songs of clear, descending whistles—distinctive songs that, along with genetic differences, helped ornithologists recognize this subspecies of Eastern Meadowlark as a new species in 2022.

More ID Info
image of range map for Chihuahuan Meadowlark
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Look for Chihuahuan Meadowlarks in the arid desert grasslands of southeastern Arizona, New Mexico, west Texas, and northern Mexico. They overlap broadly with very similar Western Meadowlarks in this area, so be sure to identify all meadowlarks with care. Listen for Chihuahuan Meadowlarks’ distinctive songs and calls—this is the best way to identify this species. And look for a mostly white tail on Chihuahuan Meadowlarks in flight (Western Meadowlarks have much more limited white in the tail).

Other Names

  • Pradero Chihuahuense (Spanish)
  • Sturnelle de Lilian (French)
  • Cool Facts