Back to the New York Western They are ground nesters, often in farmlands and fields. Great-tailed grackle. The pale Lilian's meadowlark of northern Mexico and the southwestern US is sometimes split off as a separate species. This combination of features is intermediate between those of Eastern Meadowlark and Western Meadowlark and would seem to suggest Eastern Meadowlark x Western Meadowlark. The males will often have two mates at a time and will defend their nesting territory by singing from an elevated perch. portions of the tail feathers are and how thick the bars are. Western meadowlarks are not common backyard birds but will visit yards in rural, agricultural areas. She has over 16 years experience writing about wild birds for magazines and websites. Just for fun, and speaking of variation, here is a photo of a … A related species, the western meadowlark, Sturnella negleeta, lives in prairie habitats that are probably even noisier than the eastern meadowlark's, and their repertoires are composed of a smaller number of more contrasting song types (Falls & d'Agincourt 1981). Many different colorful and interesting birds make up the Icteridae bird family, including blackbirds, orioles, troupials, oropendolas, and caciques. The Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) looks almost identical to its eastern cousin so it takes a practiced eye to separate the two. As pretty as it is, the Eastern Meadowlark’s song is no match for the Western Meadowlark’s music. [Updated by COSEWIC - May. These birds are quite loud, and can often be heard from surprising distances. Note how the area behind the base of the lower mandible is white. The oval-shaped eggs are white and heavily spotted with brown, red-brown, or purplish dots. Juvenile western meadowlarks look similar to adults, but their markings may not be as sharp and their coloring can be duller overall. Return to Cornell This species was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae as Alauda magna. While we have almost no original prairie ecosystems remaining, the ranchlands and farmlands that now occupy part of the original Katy Prairie do offer an opportunity to observe birds, plants and insects associated with grassland habitat. Male and female birds are similar with a heavily mottled beige body, thin black stripes on the wings, a bold black V-shaped bib on the chest, and black spots or stripes on the sides. Distribution and Population. University Museum of Vertebrates. Meadowlarks are often more easily heard than seen, unless you spot a male singing from a fence post. The upperparts are mottled in various shades of pale gray-brown colors which provide excellent camouflage once on the ground. 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. 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. Western Meadowlarks tend to be paler than Easterns. Profile by Maria Hart: The Eastern Meadowlark’s bright song is a familiar sound throughout open grasslands of eastern North America. Eastern meadowlark. This is an Eastern. One mark Some are resident grassland birds, others may winter in grasslands, and others depend on them during migration. Western meadowlarks are largely insectivorous, but also eat a wide range of seeds and grain in late summer and autumn. This is a The central tail feathers are barred brown without any dark brown along the shaft, which is consistent with Western Meadowlark (or Lilian's Eastern). ["New records for the avifauna of El Salvador"]. The eastern meadowlark (Sturnella magna) is a medium-sized icterid bird, very similar in appearance to the western meadowlark. Delaying hay harvest can also improve survival, giving young meadowlarks a chance of fledging , Jaramillo, Alvaro and Burke, Peter (1999). Baltimore oriole . Much praise has been heaped on the Western Meadowlark for its song. the face in the Western. They are commonly seen singing from fence posts, telephone wires, and shrubs. They prefer open, grassy habitats such as a meadow, pasture, or prairie. Common grackle. The different subspecies of the two species can confuse Western Meadowlark at Poudre River Trail at 54th Street, Greeley, CO (June 2003) Linnaeus' error is explained by two facts: first, he did not distinguish between the eastern and western meadowlarks. 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. University Museum of Vertebrates Ornithology Collection home The Western Meadowlark… Frequently, grass above the nest is interlaced with other grass to form a dome shaped roof above the nest. is the yellow malar region of a Western Meadowlark, as opposed to Red-winged blackbird. Baltimore oriole . Regions with shorter or medium-length grasses are more likely to host western meadowlarks than areas with taller grasses. In the field, the song is often the easiest way to tell the two species apart, though plumage differences do exist, like tail pattern and malar coloration. Western Meadowlark vs. Eastern Meadowlark . The other end of the birds is also diagnostic, namely the tail When it is time to breed, female Eastern Meadowlarks intricately swirl and weave dead grasses together to form a nest hidden on the ground within dense vegetation. These are Melissa Mayntz has been a birder and wild bird enthusiast for 30+ years. document.write("\" border=0 alt=\"Site Meter\">"); Cornell The yellow of the throat extends higher up onto Because western meadowlarks perch in the open and sing loudly, they are relatively easy to find within their range.