Sturnella neglecta
(Western Meadowlark)

Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Icteridae
Family Description: Blackbirds, Orioles, & Meadowlarks

Physical Description:
8 1/2-11" (22-28 cm). Adults have long, pointed bill; head striped with black and white; cheek yellow; throat and underparts mostly bright yellow with striking black V on breast.

Similar Species- Eastern Meadowlark

Distinct, 7-10 note flute-like song that ends with approximately 3 descending notes.

Breeds from central British Columbia and central Alberta, east to southern Ontario, northern Michigan, and northwestern Ohio, and south to Baja California, central mainland of Mexico, central Texas and Louisiana. Winters from south- central Canada to central Mexico, and east to Gulf Coast and Florida.

Found in grasslands, shrub steppeClick word for definition, savannas, and cultivated fields and pastures. Summers in grasslands and valleys, but may also be found in foothills and open mountain areas (up to 2500 m in California). A study conducted in southwestern Idaho determined that landscape-level features did not influence the distribution of meadowlarks.

Approximately 65- 70% of diet consists of small invertebrates such as beetles, cutworms, caterpillars, grasshoppers, spiders, sow bugs, and snails. Will also eat some grains and seeds.

Builds cup-shaped nest on ground. Forages on ground. One study estimated home range size at 4-13 ha. found in flocks of 10-75 birds in winter. Predators include hawks, crows, skunks, weasels, raccoons, and coyotes.

In Manitoba, nests are initiated in late April or June (mainly in first half of May). Female incubatesClick word for definition 3-7 eggs (usually 5), for 13-15 days. Nestlings are tended by both parents, leave nest in about 12 days, and are fed by parents for 2 additional weeks.

Element Code: ABPBXB2030
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5,NTMB
National Rank: N5

Important State References:
Knick, S.T. and J.T. Rotenberry. 1995. Landscape characterization of fragmented shrubsteppe habitats in breeding passerines. Conser. Biology 9:1059-1071.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.