Species at Risk Database

Species at Risk Database

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Eastern Meadowlark

Sturnella magna

COSEWIC Status: Threatened

COSSARO Status: Threatened

T. Hince

Description

  • Medium-sized bird with a bold black “V” in the middle of its bright yellow breast.
  • Backs are dabbled brown with flecks of yellow, white and black.
  • Juvenile similar to adult but paler overall with greyish flecks on chest instead of black V.
  • Meadowlarks are a member of the blackbird family.
  • Clear, musical whistle “spring of the year” call is easily heard and they prefer to call from an elevated position such as a fence post.

Food

  • They feed on the ground on insects like grubs, grasshoppers and crickets.

Habits and Reproduction

  • Males typically have two mates.
  • Females build a domed nest of grass which is woven into surrounding vegetation. She lays 3-7 white eggs spotted with brown and lavender which incubate in two weeks.
  • Active nests have been found from early May until early August however the majority of meadowlark breeding happens from late May until early July.
  • By November, this species migrates south to the southern United States and into Mexico.

Habitat

  • Open habitat especially meadows and large fields with long grass.

Conservation Actions

  • Pastures and hay fields provide important habitat for two threatened grassland bird species: bobolinks and eastern meadowlarks. Both species will benefit from delaying mowing until mid-July to allow the birds to raise their broods .

Range Map

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