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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Western Meadowlark -- Sturnella neglecta


RANGE: Breeds from central British Columbia, north-central Alberta, Saskatchewan, and central Canada, south throughout most of the Western United States. Found in most areas west of the Mississippi. Resident throughout the Pacific, southern Rocky Mountain, and southern Great Plain States. Winters also in Oklahoma, Texas, and along the coasts of Mexico and Baja California.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Typically inhabits grasslands, savannahs, cultivated fields, and pastures, preferring open fields with perch sites such as fences, old logs, or dead trees.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Open grasslands.

NEST: Builds nest in a shallow depression on dry ground in open grassland, often in grass or a small grass tuft, sometimes in rocky areas. Usually uses grasses for nest material.

FOOD: Gleans food from the ground or low vegetation. Eats both animal and vegetable material; about 70 percent animal material, mainly beetles, but also a variety of other insects and invertebrates; and a variety of grains and seeds.

REFERENCES: Lanyon 1957.


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