Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Least Concern

Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)


French: Sturnelle de l’Ouest German: Wiesenstärling Spanish: Pradero occidental

Sturnella neglecta


, 1844,

near Fort Croghan, North Dakota, USA


Geographical variation in colour saturation apparently clinal from E to W, with darkest birds in far NW of range named as confluenta (described from Seattle, Washington). Monotypic.


Canada (from S British Columbia and NC Alberta E to SW & SE Ontario) and S in W USA (E to Michigan, extreme NW New York and W Texas) to Mexico (S to N Baja California, NW Sonora and C plateau in Guanajuato); in winter extends farther S into Mexico and E in USA to Mississippi R and the Gulf Coast.

Introduced on Kauai (Hawaiian Is).

Descriptive notes

Male average 21 cm, 106 g; female average 19 cm, 89·4 g. A stocky, long-billed icterid. Male has blackish crown with pale buff to white median stripe, long super­... read more


Song of male lasts c. 1·5 seconds, consists of 1–6 rather pure whistles followed by 1... read more


Pastures, meadows, hay fields, less often in cultivated fields. Where range overlap with S.... read more

Food and feeding

Stomach contents 70% animal food, 30% plant food. Insects commonly represented included weevils (Curculionidae), crickets and grasshoppers... read more


Season Apr–Aug in USA; second broods frequent. Monogamous to moderately polygynous, with two or three females per male. Male defends... read more


Medium-distance migrant, with overlapping breeding and non-breeding ranges. Winters from extreme SW... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to abundant in much of its extensive range. In North America seems to be a more numerous species than S. magna.

Recommended citation

Fraga, R. (2020). Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 January 2020).