The adult eastern meadowlark measures from 19 to 28 cm (7.5 to 11.0 in) in length and spans 35–40 cm (14–16 in) across the wings. These colors are slightly duller in the winter yet still distinguishable. Profile by Maria Hart: The Eastern Meadowlark’s bright song is a familiar sound throughout open grasslands of eastern North America. Disappearing prairie and grassland habitats have led to a noticeable decline in the Eastern Meadowlark population. The main distinction is a difference in the birds' calls. document.write("&minutes="+(new Date()).getMinutes()); to distinguish the meadowlarks in New York state. The peculiar belief that this bird also occurred in Africa is due to confusion of the yellow-breasted meadowlarks with certain longclaws (Macronyx), quite unrelated African songbirds. [9] On the other hand, its range is expanding in parts of Central America toward the Pacific (western) side of the continent, in agricultural-type areas. Family: (Icteridae) Blackbirds, Orioles, and Allies. In the northern portion of the western meadowlark’s breeding range, however, including birds in the Dakotas, northern Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, and southern Canada, the birds will migrate seasonally. Western meadowlarks can be found as far east as the western halves of Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska, and in their northern range, they even extend as far east as Michigan and southern Ontario, though eastern populations are much scarcer. The head and bill give a distinctive sharply pointed appearance. The outer tail feathers are white, and the legs and feet are pale. The most obvious characters that distinguishes the two species black on the folded wing feathers, similar to the differences in There may be more than one nesting female in a male's territory. In winter, western meadowlarks extend their range slightly further east and also cover all of Mexico, including the Baja Peninsula. Overgrazing of pastures can remove food sources the meadowlarks depend on, and early mowing of hayfields can destroy western meadowlark nests. Reservoir, Logan County (Colorado, USA), 14th August 2015 - copyright. Eastern Meadowlarks can easily be identified by their brilliant yellow chests and dark v-shaped collar. this appearance seems to be the result of the thinner lines of You can readily find Eastern Meadowlarks in most of our sanctuaries with any significant grassland habitat, but Bolivar Flats is an especially good place to hear and see them, where the beach transitions to wetland. In fact, the western meadowlark is the official state bird of six different states: Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming. Melissa Mayntz has been a birder and wild bird enthusiast for 30+ years. The two species of meadowlarks evidently can easily recognize their own kind the same way; even where their ranges overlap in the Midwest and Southwest, they almost never interbreed. Easterns. document.write("stats.asp?site=tichodroma\" target=_top>"); Ground bird baths can also help attract western meadowlarks. Back to the New York Western Meadowlark page. Originally our prairies were a web of life consisting of an amazing diversity of grasses and wildflowers that supported the bison, deer, the birds, and insects among numerous other species. These are [3][4] The extended wing bone measures 8.9–12.9 cm (3.5–5.1 in), the tail measures 5.3–8.6 cm (2.1–3.4 in), the culmen measures 2.8–3.7 cm (1.1–1.5 in) and the tarsus measures 3.6–4.7 cm (1.4–1.9 in). The head has dark stripes that contrast with a white eyebrow, and the gray bill is sharply tapered and somewhat long. presumed Western Meadowlark x Eastern Meadowlark hybrid, Lower Latham Reservoir, Weld County (Colorado, USA), 21st March 2016 - copyright, presumed The Western chased the Eastern a lot, but they didn't seem to be too upset. On 9 April, the presumed male Western Meadowlark was seen in close proximity with an Eastern Meadowlark. The Eastern Meadowlark is also darker-backed than the Western. [2] Body mass ranges from 76 to 150 g (2.7 to 5.3 oz). Western Meadowlark x Eastern Meadowlark hybrid (same bird as in photo ID 2770 above), Lower Latham Reservoir, They have a long pointed bill; the head is striped with light brown and black. The males will often have two mates at a time and will defend their nesting territory by singing from an elevated perch. [5] Adults have yellow underparts with a black "V" on the breast and white flanks with black streaks. Remarkably similar to the Eastern Meadowlark in colors and pattern, this bird is recognized by its very different song and callnotes. Delaying hay harvest can also improve survival, giving young meadowlarks a chance of fledging [11], Jaramillo, Alvaro and Burke, Peter (1999). Their numbers are now shrinking with a decline in suitable habitat. They are more easily separated by vocalization. feathers. The pale Lilian's meadowlark of northern Mexico and the southwestern US is sometimes split off as a separate species. These are Regions with shorter or medium-length grasses are more likely to host western meadowlarks than areas with taller grasses. Western Meadowlark vs. Eastern Meadowlark, Western Meadowlark Habitat and Distribution. Female birds incubate the eggs for 13-15 days, but both parents will feed the young chicks during the 11-13 day nestling phase until the hatchlings are ready to leave the nest. Distribution and Population. 0:00 / Eastern meadowlark (call / song) call, song. variation exists, but that the centers are much lighter than in Collections at the Cornell Their breeding habitat is grasslands and prairie, also pastures and hay fields. As the state bird of several western states, this is a popular and familiar songbird for many birders, but there are many more facts to learn about the western meadowlark than just its pretty song. Western meadowlarks also have paler tails with thinner barring, whereas eastern meadowlarks have dark centers to their tails and show thicker barring on their tail feathers. This taxon -- whether a separate species or simply a well-marked subspecies of Eastern Meadowlark -- more closely approaches Western Meadowlark in the color and pattern of its upperparts. The upperparts are mottled in various shades of pale gray-brown colors which provide excellent camouflage once on the ground. A mated pair of western meadowlarks will produce two broods of 3-6 eggs each per year. Western meadowlarks have a yellow malar region, while eastern meadowlarks have buff or whitish malar stripes. Western Meadowlark at Poudre River Trail at 54th Street, Greeley, CO (June 2003) the tail feathers. The nest is also on the ground, covered with a roof woven from grasses. Return to Cornell Various species of flowers are in colorful bloom throughout the year, and with a practiced eye one notices that the grasses change color with the seasons, so that the palette of the prairie is never the same. A short set of varied pitched notes are repeated with short pauses between them, and the birds are often found singing from perches such as posts, plant stalks, wires, and fences, which makes them easy to spot for visual identification. It is not a true lark but is, in fact, a member of the blackbird and oriole family. Profile by Glenn Olsen: Ask someone what bird they associate with a prairie or grassland and you will probably receive many different responses because so many birds depend on this ecosystem at some time in their lives. They walk and look for insects which constitute the bulk of its diet. This colorful member of the blackbird family flashes a vibrant yellow breast crossed by a distinctive, black, V-shaped band. Visually, the western meadowlark and eastern meadowlark are very similar, and only subtle differences separate the two species. portions of the tail feathers are and how thick the bars are. ID Discussion of Eastern Meadowlark versus Western Meadowlark Since I brought up the possibility of Steve Bailey's Western Meadowlark ( Sturnella neglecta) (WEME) was not of WEME parentage, or possibly mixed parentage, I need to comment on this topic.Before starting, let me remind everyone that this is an open discussion of bird identification. Remarkably similar to the Eastern Meadowlark in colors and pattern, this bird is recognized by its very different song and callnotes. Look at the Eastern Meadowlark in the photo above (taken Thursday near Northfield, … Both species of bluebirds can now be found in the middle Rio Grande bosque year-round, but this was not always the case.