Skip to main content

How to Identify Birds: The Meadowlark

There are two species of meadowlarks in North America: eastern and western. Although difficult to tell apart, these guidelines will help you identify either one.


  • Step 1: Note the bird's appearance Consider the bird's appearance through binoculars and compare it with the pictures in your field guide. Meadowlarks are stocky with short tails; they have yellow throats, bellies, and have a black V across their chests.
  • TIP: The western meadowlark has a yellow mustache stripe beside its yellow throat. Eastern meadowlarks have white mustache stripes.
  • Step 2: Observe the bird's call Consider the bird's call. The eastern meadowlark has a clear, melodious whistle and the western meadowlark's song tends to be long and flute like.
  • Step 3: Consider the geographical locale Consider the region where the bird is observed. Western meadowlarks are found from the eastern border of the plains and prairies to the Pacific coast. The eastern meadowlark lives in the southwest and eastward from the prairies of the Midwest and Canada to the Atlantic coast.
  • FACT: Eastern and western meadowlarks only recognize the songs of their particular species.

You Will Need

  • Binoculars
  • A field guide

Popular Categories