Male Western Meadowlarks have a complex, two-phrase “primary” song that begins with 1–6 pure whistles and descends to a series of 1–5 gurgling warbles. Males develop a repertoire of up to a dozen songs, and may switch the songs they sing in response to an intruder. Meadowlarks are solitary birds or can be found in pairs during the breeding season, but at other times of the year they may form small flocks, especially in late fall and winter. The Western, on the other hand, sings "a variable song of seven to ten notes, flute-like, gurgling, and double-noted; very unlike clear slurred whistles of Eastern Meadowlark." The western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) is a medium-sized icterid bird, about 8.5 in (22 cm) in length. The yellow of the throat extends higher up onto the face in the Western. The songs are quite different, as are the call notes. Both songs and call notes differ, and birders should practice birding by ear in regions where the two species’ ranges overlap in order to feel confident about proper identification. The yellow of the throat extends higher up onto the face in the Western. Female birds incubate the eggs for 13-15 days, but both parents will feed the young chicks during the 11-13 day nestling phase until the hatchlings are ready to leave the nest. Western meadowlarks are largely insectivorous, but also eat a wide range of seeds and grain in late summer and autumn. They begin singing early in the day, and their bold markings make them easy to spot even from a distance. Grass above the nest may also be woven together to create shade and protection as well as to help conceal the nesting site. Although Western Meadowlarks seldom sing more than 10–12 songs, their eastern counterparts exhibit a much larger repertoire of 50–100 song variations. ... Western meadowlark. Because of their widespread range, easily recognizable markings, and enchanting songs, western meadowlarks are popular as state bird symbols. Regions with shorter or medium-length grasses are more likely to host western meadowlarks than areas with taller grasses. The songs are quite different, as are the call notes. The two species of meadowlarks evidently can easily recognize their own kind the same way; even where their ranges overlap in the Midwest and Southwest, they almost never interbreed. The outer tail feathers are white, and the legs and feet are pale. Where ranges overlap in summer, listen for different song and look for yellow malar (more yellow on throat) on Western. Western … In winter, Western is more likely to be in flocks and areas with shorter grass (less pristine, extensive grasslands). These birds have long, pointed bills and their heads are striped with light brown and black bands. Western meadowlark. Western meadowlark adults have yellow underparts with a black "V" on the breast and white flanks streaked with black. Because western meadowlarks perch in the open and sing loudly, they are relatively easy to find within their range. The western meadowlark is named for its beautiful warbling song but in fact it is a member of the blackbird family, Icteridae, not the lark family or the warbler family. 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. Western meadowlarks are common in the central and western United States and the birds’ range extends are far north as southern Canada and south into Mexico. 0:00 / Western meadowlark (call / song) call, song, sputters. One mark is the yellow malar region of a Western Meadowlark, as opposed to white in Eastern. These birds prefer open grassland, meadow, prairie, and pasture habitat but can also be found in cultivated fields and other rural areas. Length 9.5". Where ranges overlap in summer, listen for different song and look for yellow malar (more yellow on throat) on Western. Yellow-headed blackbird. The song has a deep throaty sound, though the birds will also use “chip” and “chirp” calls. A - Z. App. In winter, western meadowlarks extend their range slightly further east and also cover all of Mexico, including the Baja Peninsula. call / song. This is an Eastern. For their first few weeks after leaving the nest, young birds give a simple, high-pitched location call, which is replaced by a weet note once the birds are independent. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. Western meadowlarks have a yellow malar region, while eastern meadowlarks have buff or whitish malar stripes. See our other wild bird profiles to discover many more birds to enjoy! Visual differences are more subtle, but they do exist. Field and pasture management that takes the birds’ needs into consideration is essential to protect their populations. Juvenile western meadowlarks look similar to adults, but their markings may not be as sharp and their coloring can be duller overall. In fact, the western meadowlark is the official state bird of six different states: Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming. Only the northern cardinal symbolically represents a greater number of states (seven). These visual clues do vary and can be difficult to see in the field, however, but the vocal differences between the two birds are more distinct. The head has dark stripes that contrast with a white eyebrow, and the gray bill is sharply tapered and somewhat long. Eastern meadowlark. In the northern portion of the western meadowlark’s breeding range, however, including birds in the Dakotas, northern Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, and southern Canada, the birds will migrate seasonally. As the state bird of several western states, this is a popular and familiar songbird for many birders, but there are many more facts to learn about the western meadowlark than just its pretty song. The western meadowlark’s distinctive warbling song is its most easily identifiable characteristic. Birders can make their backyard more attractive to these birds by providing ample perching areas, open areas, and grass seeds. Ground bird baths can also help attract western meadowlarks. Identification. When chasing competing males or responsive females, male Western Meadowlarks give a hurried, excited “flight song” of short-spaced whistles and warbles. Visually, the western meadowlark and eastern meadowlark are very similar, and only subtle differences separate the two species. Visual differences are more subtle, but they do exist. When I focused in … Search. These birds are quite loud, and can often be heard from surprising distances. Polytypic. A short set of varied pitched notes are repeated with short pauses between them, and the birds are often found singing from perches such as posts, plant stalks, wires, and fences, which makes them easy to spot for visual identification. Remarkably similar to the Eastern Meadowlark in colors and pattern, this bird is recognized by its very different song and callnotes. Listen to Eastern meadowlark on bird-sounds.net - a comprehensive collection of North American bird songs and bird calls. A - Z. App.