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Western Meadowlark

Kansas State Bird

Western meadowlark; photo by Kevin Cole on Flickr (use permitted with attribution). 

Official State Bird of Kansas

The western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) was designated the official state bird of Kansas in 1937. All State Birds

The Western meadowlark is a familiar songbird of open country across the western two-thirds of the continent. In the same family as blackbirds and orioles, adults have a black and white striped head; long, pointed bill; yellow cheeks; bright yellow throat; and a distinctive black "V" on breast. The western meadowlark is often seen perched on fence-posts in grasslands and agricultural areas singing its distinct 7-10 note melody (their flute-like song usually ends with 3 descending notes).

Western Meadowlark Facts

Western meadowlarks forage on the ground and beneath soil for insects, grain and weed seeds (it's estimated that at least 65-70% of their diet consists of beetles, cutworms, caterpillars, grasshoppers, spiders, sow bugs, and snails).

They also nest on the ground – constructing a cup of dried grasses and bark woven into the surrounding vegetation. This nest may be open or have a partial or full grass roof, or even a grass entry tunnel several feet long.

Western meadowlark predators include hawks, crows, skunks, coyotes, raccoons, and weasels. Western meadowlarks are still abundant but declining throughout their range; they are a protected non-game species.