Eastern Meadowlark, Sturnella magna


Eastern Meadowlark
Eastern and Western Meadowlark are hard to distinguish by appearance, though this bird has the white rather than yellow malar (moustachial) stripe more characteristic of Eastern. In addition, their songs are different; the Eastern's song is entirely made up of clear whistled notes, lacking the characteristic fluty gurgles of the Western. Western Meadowlarks do not nest along the Texas Gulf Coast, where this bird was photographed.


Eastern Meadowlark
The pale auriculars (cheek patch) and the strongly contrasting dark eyeline mark
this Arizona meadowlark in April as probably an Eastern Meadowlark of the
southwestern "Lilian's" subspecies, rather than a Western Meadowlark, which
would have brownish auriculars and a paler eyeline. In addition, this bird has a
white rather than a yellow malar (moustache strip), indicative of Eastern. Lilian's
Meadowlark is a candidate for recognition as a separate species.



Eastern Meadowlark
Above and below, Eastern Meadowlarks singing from fence posts along Joe Overstreet Road in southern Osceola County, Florida, a state where Western Meadowlarks are not found. 


Eastern Meadowlark