Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Eastern meadowlark

Sturnella magna

Photo by William Hull (Mango Verde)

Common name:
eastern meadowlark (en); peito-amarelo-ceroulo (pt); sturnelle des prés (fr); turpial oriental (es); lerchenstärling (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Icteridae

This species if found from south-eastern Canada, across the eastern United States, through Mexico and Central America and into Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas and northern Brazil.

These birds are 19-28 cm long and have a wingspan of 35-40 cm. They weigh 75-150 g.

Eastern meadowlarks are mostly found in dry grasslands and pastures, but also in arable land, dry scrublands and rural gardens. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 3.500 m.

They forage on the ground taking various invertebrates, namely crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars and grubs. They also eat seeds and berries.

Eastern meadowlarks breed in March-August. The female builds the nest on the ground out of grasses woven into surrounding vegetation. There she lays 2-6 eggs white eggs with reddish-brown speckles, which she incubates alone for 13-15 days. The chicks are mostly fed by the female and fledge 10-12 days after hatching, but continue to rely on the adult birds for food for a another 2 weeks.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range ans a global population estimated at 10 million individuals. The population has undergone a large decline of -26.9% per decade over the last 4 decades, but overall it is not considered threatened at present.

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