Meadowlark

MeadowlarkMeadowlark — Meadowlarks are birds belonging to the genus Sturnella in the New World family Icteridae.

This genus includes seven species of largely insectivorous grassland birds. In all species the male at least has a black or brown back and extensively red or yellow underparts.

The genus Sturnella comprises:

  • Red-breasted Blackbird, Sturnella militaris
  • White-browed Blackbird, Sturnella superciliaris
  • Peruvian Meadowlark, Sturnella bellicosa
  • Pampas Meadowlark, Sturnella defillippi
  • Long-tailed Meadowlark, Sturnella loyca
  • Eastern Meadowlark, Sturnella magna
  • Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  • Lilian’s Meadowlark, Sturnella lilianae

In all species the male at least has a black or brown back and extensively red or yellow under parts.

Meadowlark is a bird of the grassland. The first meadowlarks probably arrived in the Midwest at the same time as the prairies, on the heels of retreating Ice Age glaciers. And although the prairie is gone now, meadowlarks still sing over the land where the bison once roamed.

In spring each male meadowlark adopts a bragging post, where he spends several hours each day in song.

Male meadowlarks arrive in Iowa in March or April. Each one’s immediate mission is to secure and hold the best possible nesting territory, so that he will be able to win a mate when the females arrive several weeks later.

Not all meadowlarks sing the same song. We have two species in the United States, Eastern Meadowlark and Western Meadowlark. They look almost exactly alike, but their songs are easy to tell apart.

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