Mature lark bunting in Pawnee National Grasslands, Colorado. Photo © Henry Detwiler / Southwest Birders (all rights reserved; used by permission).
Official State Bird of Colorado
The migratory lark bunting (Calamospiza melancorys Stejneger) was designated the state bird of Colorado in 1931. All State Birds
Lark Bunting Facts
The male lark bunting performs a spectacular courtship flight while warbling and trilling a distinctive mating song. A breeding male is jet black with white wings but in winter changes to a gray brown color more like the smaller female bird.
Though the lark bunting is still a common sparrow of the Great Plains, grassland bird species in North America have experienced large population declines in the past forty years. Lark buntings declined by 2.5% per year in Colorado between 1966 and 2003.
The Lark Bunting is the only sparrow that changes to a drab plumage for winter.