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Western Meadowlark

Silhouette MeadowlarksMeadowlarks
Western MeadowlarkSturnella neglecta
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Icteridae

Basic Description

The buoyant, flutelike melody of the Western Meadowlark ringing out across a field can brighten anyone’s day. Meadowlarks are often more easily heard than seen, unless you spot a male singing from a fence post. This colorful member of the blackbird family flashes a vibrant yellow breast crossed by a distinctive, black, V-shaped band. Look and listen for these stout ground feeders in grasslands, meadows, pastures, and along marsh edges throughout the West and Midwest, where flocks strut and feed on seeds and insects.

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

Look for the abundant Western Meadowlark foraging in open grasslands, meadows and fields of low-growing vegetation, or along marshes and road edges with sparse cover. In winter you may see them in mixed flocks with other blackbirds and starlings. During the breeding season, males sing from the tops of fence posts and shrubs, or perch on fences and powerlines.

Other Names

  • Pradero Occidental (Spanish)
  • Sturnelle de l'Ouest (French)

Backyard Tips

Western Meadowlarks may come to backyards if food is offered. Although not seen regularly at feeders, they occasionally visit feeding stations in open habitats. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

  • Cool Facts