Western Meadowlark: Short, stocky, ground-dwelling bird with dark-streaked brown upperparts and bright yellow underparts with broad black V on breast. Crown is dark brown-and-white striped. Bill is sharply pointed. Tail is brown with white edges. Forages on ground.
Range and Habitat
Western Meadowlark: Breeds from British Columbia, Manitoba, northern Michigan, and northwestern Ohio south to Missouri, central Texas, and northern Mexico; has spread eastward in recent years. Spends winters in much of its breeding range north to southern British Columbia, Utah, and Arkansas. Preferred habitats include meadows, plains, and prairies.
The Western Meadowlark was first described in 1844 by Audubon.
A male usually has two mates at the same time. The females do all the incubation and brooding, and most of the feeding of the young.
Although it looks nearly identical to the Eastern Meadowlark, the two species rarely hybridize. Mixed pairs usually occur only at the edge of the range where few mates are available.
A group of meadowlarks are collectively known as a "pod" of meadowlarks.
The Western Meadowlark is a medium blackbird that looks much like the Eastern Meadowlark. Preferred breeding habitats include grasslands, prairies and open fields. Their range extends from central North America to northern Mexico. Nests are built on the ground and covered with a roof made of grass, making them well-camouflaged. Northern populations will migrate during winter months to the southern portion of their range. Food is foraged on the ground, and typically includes insects, seeds and berries. This is also the state bird of Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon and Wyoming. The conservation status of the Western Meadowlark is Least Concern.