Definitions

Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

The Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) is a medium-sized blackbird, very similar in appearance to the Eastern Meadowlark.

Adults have yellow underparts, with a black "V" on the breast, and white flanks which are streaked with black. Their upper parts are mostly brown, but also have black streaks. These birds have long pointed bills and their heads are striped with light brown and black.

Their breeding habitats are grasslands, prairies, pastures, and abandoned fields, all of which may be found from across western and central North America to northern Mexico. Where their range overlaps with the eastern species, these birds prefer thinner, drier vegetation; the two types of birds generally do not interbreed but do defend territory against one another. Their nests are situated on the ground, and are covered with a roof woven from grass. There may be more than one nesting female in a male's territory. Their nests are sometimes destroyed by mowing operations with eggs and young in them.

Western Meadowlarks will interbreed with Eastern Meadowlarks where their ranges overlap, although their offspring are infertile.

Western Meadowlarks are permanent residents throughout much of their range. Northern birds may migrate to the southern parts of their range; some birds also move east in the southern United States.

These birds forage on the ground or in low to semi-low vegetation. They sometimes search for food by probing with their bills. They mainly eat insects, although they will devour seeds and berries. In winter, these birds often feed in flocks.

These birds have a flute-like warbled song. These calls contrast with the simple, whistled call of the Eastern Meadowlark.

These two species were considered to be the same species for some time; the western species, having been overlooked for some time, was given the species name neglecta.

This is the state bird of Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon and Wyoming.

References

  • Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern

External links

Further reading

Book

  • Lanyon, W. E. 1994. Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta). In The Birds of North America, No. 104 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists’ Union.

Thesis

  • Davis SK. Ph.D. (2003). Habitat selection and demography of mixed-grass prairie songbirds in a fragmented landscape. The University of Regina (Canada), Canada.
  • Horn AG. Ph.D. (1987). Repertoires and song switching in western meadowlarks (Sturnella neglecta). University of Toronto (Canada), Canada.
  • Pierce AM. Ph.D. (1974). ENERGETICS AND WATER ECONOMY IN THE WESTERN MEADOWLARK, STURNELLA NEGLECTA. University of California, Irvine, United States -- California.

Articles

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  • Applegate RD & Willms AG. (1987). Distribution and Population Trend of Western Meadowlarks in Illinois USA. Prairie Naturalist. vol 19, no 3. p. 145-148.
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  • Davis SK. (2004). Area sensitivity in grassland passerines: Effects of patch size, patch shape, and vegetation structure on bird abundance and occurrence in southern Saskatchewan. Auk. vol 121, no 4. p. 1130-1145.
  • Davis SK. (2005). Nest-site selection patterns and the influence of vegetation on nest survival of mixed-grass prairie passerines. Condor. vol 107, no 3. p. 605-616.
  • Davis SK, Brigham RM, Shaffer TL & James PC. (2006). Mixed-grass prairie passerines exhibit weak and variable responses to patch size. Auk. vol 123, no 3. p. 807-821.
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  • Dickinson TE & Falls JB. (1989). How Western Meadowlarks Respond to Simulated Intrusions by Unmated Females. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology. vol 25, no 3. p. 217-226.
  • Dickinson TE, Falls JB & Kopachena J. (1987). Effects of Female Pairing Status and Timing of Breeding on Nesting Productivity in Western Meadowlarks Sturnella-Neglecta. Canadian Journal of Zoology. vol 65, no 12. p. 3093-3101.
  • Dieni JS & Jones SL. (2003). Grassland songbird nest site selection patterns in northcentral Montana. Wilson Bulletin. vol 115, no 4. p. 388-396.
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  • Ellis CJ. (1973). Syringeal Histology Part 2 Meadowlark Sturnella-Magna Sturnella-Neglecta. Iowa State Journal of Research. vol 48, no 2. p. 175-191.
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  • Falls JB. (1985). Song Matching in Western Meadowlarks Sturnella-Neglecta. Canadian Journal of Zoology. vol 63, no 11. p. 2520-2524.
  • Falls JB & D'Agincourt LG. (1981). A Comparison of Neighbor Stranger Discrimination in Eastern Meadowlarks Sturnella-Magna and Western Meadowlarks Sturnella-Neglecta. Canadian Journal of Zoology. vol 59, no 12. p. 2380-2385.
  • Falls JB, Horn AG & Dickinson TE. (1988). How Western Meadowlarks Classify Their Songs Evidence from Song Matching. Animal Behaviour. vol 36, no 2. p. 579-585.
  • Falls JB & Krebs JR. (1975). Sequence of Songs in Repertoires of Western Meadowlarks Sturnella-Neglecta. Canadian Journal of Zoology. vol 53, no 8. p. 1165-1178.
  • Fitzner RE, Berry D, Boyd LL & Rieck CA. (1977). Nesting of Ferruginous Hawks Buteo-Regalis in Washington 1974-1975. Condor. vol 79, no 2. p. 245-249.
  • Frawley BJ & Best LB. (1991). Effects of Mowing on Breeding Bird Abundance and Species Composition in Alfalfa Fields. Wildlife Society Bulletin. vol 19, no 2. p. 135-142.
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  • Hanebrink EL. (1971). Dilute Albinism in a Western Meadowlark Collected in Mississippi County Arkansas. Migrant. vol 42, no 4.
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  • Hill RA. (1976). Host Parasite Relationships of the Brown-Headed Cowbird in a Prairie Habitat of West Central Kansas USA. Wilson Bulletin. vol 88, no 4. p. 555-565.
  • Horn A & Falls JB. (1988). Structure of Western Meadowlark Sturnella-Neglecta Song Repertoires. Canadian Journal of Zoology. vol 66, no 2. p. 284-288.
  • Horn AG. (1988). Interspecific Aggression in Western Meadowlarks Sturnella-Neglecta Re-Directed Aggression?. Journal of Field Ornithology. vol 59, no 3. p. 224-226.
  • Horn AG, Dickinson TE & Falls JB. (1993). Male quality and song repertoires in western meadowlarks (Sturnella neglecta). Canadian Journal of Zoology. vol 71, no 5. p. 1059-1061.
  • Horn AG & Falls JB. (1988). REPERTOIRES AND COUNTERSINGING IN WESTERN MEADOWLARKS (STURNELLA-NEGLECTA). Ethology. vol 77, no 4. p. 337-343.
  • Horn AG & Falls JB. (1988). Responses of Western Meadowlarks Sturnella-Neglecta to Song Repetition and Contrast. Animal Behaviour. vol 36, no 1. p. 291-293.
  • Horn AG & Falls JB. (1991). SONG SWITCHING IN MATE ATTRACTION AND TERRITORY DEFENSE BY WESTERN MEADOWLARKS (STURNELLA-NEGLECTA). Ethology. vol 87, no 3-4. p. 262-268.
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  • Igl LD. (1996). Western meadowlark impaled on barbed-wire fence. Prairie Naturalist. vol 28, no 1. p. 25-26.
  • Igl LD & Johnson DH. (1997). Changes in breeding bird populations in North Dakota: 1967 to 1992-93. Auk. vol 114, no 1. p. 74-92.
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  • Jones HL. (1968). Western Meadowlark at Raleigh North-Carolina USA Sturnella-Neglecta Record Song. Chat. vol 32, no 4. p. 104-105.
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  • Kinstler KA & Sordahl TA. (1994). A comparison of perch use by vocalizing eastern and western meadowlarks. Prairie Naturalist. vol 26, no 3. p. 195-200.
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