Sturnella Neglect – Western Meadowlark

Sturnella Neglect - Western Meadowlark found in the US

The western meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta is a medium-sized icterid with a wingspan of around 8.5 in (22 cm). It nests on the ground in western and central North America’s broad grasslands. It is mostly an insect eater, but may also consume seeds and berries. The western meadowlark has characteristic watery or flute-like cries that set it apart from the closely related eastern meadowlark.

Quick Overview: Sturnella Neglect – Western Meadowlark
Body size: Around 9-11 in (23-28 cm) and a weight of 1060 g (3.73 oz)
Main colors: Brown, Black, Yellow
Range: Western, Northern, and Southern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: All Year (January – December)
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Western Meadowlark Description

It’s brown and black on the back and wings, and it has a brilliant yellow breast with a black V on the front. During the winter, the colors of the meadowlark may appear a little duller. It has a pointed bill that is rather lengthy.

Sturnella Neglect - Western Meadowlark found in the US
Sturnella Neglect – Western Meadowlark. Photo by: Becky Matsubara

Size

These birds have a length of 9-11 in (23-28 cm) and a weight of 1060 g (3.73 oz). Their wings could range from 13.5-17 in (34-43 cm).

Feeding

The meadowlark’s primary food source is insects such as caterpillars and grasshoppers, however, it may occasionally consume seeds..

Habitat

Meadows, plains, prairies, and other open grasses are habitats for the western meadowlark.

Behavior

The male meadowlark comes a few weeks before the female to the mating place. Its likes to perch on fences, poles, and wires in order to stake out and protect its area. Typically, a male’s home range is around six or seven acres. If another male attempts to infiltrate his domain, he may engage in combat with the invader. Meadowlarks engaged in combat lock their feet together and peck at one another with their beaks. The western meadowlark claims territory with its unique song and cry.

Sturnella Neglect Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Icteridae
  • Genus: Sturnella
  • Species: Sturnella neglecta

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds is all year round, regardless of the season. This refers to any month of the year between January and December.

Distribution of the Western Meadowlark in the USA

Breeds in British Columbia, Manitoba, northern Michigan, and northwest Ohio, as well as in Missouri, middle Texas, and northern Mexico; has recently expanded eastward. Winters throughout a large portion of its breeding area, from northern British Columbia to southern Utah and Arkansas.

The Western Meadowlark can be found in the following states in the United States – Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Sturnella Neglect – Western Meadowlark

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