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Western Meadowlark - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Doug greenberg
Pt. Isabel Regional Shoreline, California, March 2004
Sturnella neglecta

Identification

Fresh Autumn plumage
Photo by jmorlan
North Waverly Rd, Linden, California, November 2017

Male 21 cm (8¼in); Female 19 cm (7½ in)

  • Head striped with light brown and black
  • Brown upper parts with black streaks
  • Yellow underparts
  • Black "V" on breast
  • White flanks streaked with black
  • Long pointed bill

In fresh plumage the black breast marking may be obscured by pale feather fringing

Similar Species

Eastern Meadowlark: difficult to distinguish the two, except by song and call notes.. The Western has a brownish mottled cheek and yellow extending into the malar area.

Distribution

Western and central North America to southern Mexico. Introduced on the island of Kaua'i, Hawaii.

Taxonomy

Subspecies

Photo by RCHines
Eastern Washita County, Oklahoma, November 2010

This is a polytypic species consisting of two subspecies[1]:

  • S. n. confluenta:
  • S. n. neglecta:

Habitat

Often seen in cultivated fields, but are also to be found in grasslands, prairies, pastures, and abandoned fields.

Behaviour

Breeding

Ground nesters; the nest has a roof woven from grass. There is often a second brood.

Diet

Their main diet consists of insects, such as weevils, grasshoppers and crickets. They also eat seeds and berries.

References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved Dec 2017)
  3. Wikipedia
  4. BF Member observations

Recommended Citation

External Links


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