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Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna

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The Eastern Meadowlark is an incredibly widespread species. North Americans tend to think of it as the eastern component of the meadowlark pair, but a perusal of world range shows that it is found throughout Mexico, Central America and south to Colombia, Venezuela and northernmost Brazil! It even has an isolated population in Cuba. For some time now the southwestern desert “Lilian’s” Meadowlark (subspecies lilianae) has been promoted as a potential good species based on differences in habitat choice as well as song. A recent molecular study confirms that this is indeed an old and separate lineage and it suggests elevation of Lilian’s Meadowlark to species, including the subspecies auropectoralis. Amazingly, most other mainland forms from eastern Canada south to tropical South America are not as well differentiated, although the Cuban population is distinct and has been separate from the mainland birds for a substantial amount of time. Eastern Meadowlarks are found in a variety of habitats from moist grassland and agricultural areas, to high elevation grassland, and Pine savanna (lowlands of Central America) to give some examples. It is a highly adaptable bird and one that has a sweet and simple song of two descending whistles. Visually it is nearly impossible to separate from the Western Meadowlark, voice is the key to their identification.

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Song

© Wilbur L Hershberger

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  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-breeding

Recommended Citation

Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/easmea