Western Meadowlark

Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


  • Species Common Name Western Meadowlark
  • Species Scientific Name Sturnella neglecta
  • State Listing Status Sensitive


Special needs

Western Meadowlarks require expansive grasslands for foraging and nesting. They may also use pastures or other open areas with low-lying vegetation. They prefer sites with high structural diversity, a mix of grasses and forbs, and vegetative cover <25 cm in height. Males commonly use scattered shrubs, trees, or fence posts as singing perches.

Limiting factors

Western Meadowlarks have large home ranges and are sensitive to loss, degradation, and fragmentation of grasslands. Meadowlarks are vulnerable to nest predation from raccoons, cats, and dogs. Adult meadowlarks are hunted by raptors. Human disturbance and activities (e.g., mowing) can cause meadowlarks to abandon nests.

Conservation actions

Maintain and/or restore grassland habitat, especially large expanses (e.g., >100 acres). Promote overall structural diversity in grasslands: limit the cover of trees and shrubs (<10%), ensure a relatively high percent cover of native forbs (>10%) and bare ground (>5%), and provide good representation of all height classes. Increase plant diversity to promote greater insect diversity. Control key non-native plants, including reed canarygrass. Minimize disturbance during the breeding season (April 15-July 15).

Key reference or plan

The Willamette Valley Landowner's Guide to Creating Habitat for Grassland Birds