Eastern Meadowlark


Eastern meadowlark

This colorful lark is a grassland favorite, beloved as much for its sweet flute-like song as for its bright colors. A black crescent over yellow underparts makes the plumage resemble a vest.  Meadowlarks have rounded wings and a short tail; the white outer tail feathers can often be seen when the bird is in flight and help distinguish them from other grassland birds. They forage on the ground, eating a variety of insects.

Meadowlarks, like most grassland birds, nest on the ground. Males arrive on the territory about two weeks before females. They can often be seen singing from fence posts or low bushes and trees to defend territories and attract a mate. Do not approach nesting birds as the female will abandon her eggs if flushed. 

Eastern Meadowlarks have declined more than 80% over the last few decades due to disappearing grassland habitat caused by development, forest succession and large scale agricultural operations. Learn more...

New York State Status: Not Listed
Federal Status: Not Listed

Photo courtesy Dr. Gordon Ellmers