Sturnella neglecta


It wasn't until 1844 that Audubon noticed the difference between the eastern and western meadowlark. Because it had been overlooked for so long, he named the western species "neglecta". These birds are often seen, and will claim their territory by, singing from a perch, such as a fence, pole or wire. A male has a territory range of 6-7 acres, which he will defend from other males. Meadowlarks often fight by locking their legs together and pecking at each other.


Brown upperparts with black streaks. Yellow throat, breast and upper belly. Lower belly and flanks are white with black streaks. Black "V" on breast. Buff-white and brown head stripes. Short brown tail with white outer feathers. Long, sharply pointed, gray-black bill. Juvenile and winter plumages are duller looking. Sexes similar. 8.5 to 11 inches in length.


Grasslands, meadows, sagebrush deserts, plains and farms.


3-7 white eggs with dark brown and purple spots. The eggs have a 13-15 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in 12 days. The nest is a domed cup of grass and weed stems built in grass or weeds.

Observed Locations:

  • Fiesta Island, Mission Bay
  • Ramona area

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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.