Western Meadowlark – State Bird of Kansas, Nebraska, Montana and More
Description: The Western Meadowlark is one of the most recognizable birds of the American prairie. It is the state bird of Kansas, Nebraska, Montana, Oregon and North Dakota. The nine inch Meadowlark has a brown back and wings with black markings. Its underparts are largely bright yellow with black spots and a distinctive black “V” across the chest. Many a traveler along the Kansas turnpike will identify the Western Meadowlark through the intense sun by this black “V”. The Meadowlark has white sides and a white face with a dark stripe through the eye and on the cap. Most meadowlarks have a small patch of yellow between the eye and bill. Meadowlarks are identified in flight by large white tail patches. Male and female Meadowlarks are identical. The closely related Eastern Meadowlark is virtually identical to the Western Meadowlark and cannot be identified by sight where their range overlap in the midwest.
Habitat/Range/Diet: The Western Meadowlark is found throughout the western United States and is expanding its range east to Michigan and western Ohio. Highest densities occur in the Great Plains states. Meadowlarks are found exclusively in open areas such as meadows, prairies and farmland. They are commonly observed on telephone wires or singing from exposed perches like fenceposts. Meadowlarks feed on the ground, eating insects, grain and weed seeds. Western Meadowlarks build domed nests in which the female lays 3 to 7 white eggs with dark marks.
Status: Meadowlarks sometimes gather in winter flocks of 100 or more birds. The Eastern Meadowlark has declined in population recently because habitat loss and because early mowing may destroy nest and eggs.
Western Meadowlark Video
Western Meadowlark Song