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Any sharp-billed, plump songbird of the genus Sturnella (family Icteridae), 8–11 in. (20–28 cm) long. The two North American species are streaked brown above and have a yellow breast crossed by a black V; the short tail has distinctive white outer feathers. The eastern, or common, meadowlark (S. magna), from eastern Canada to Brazil, has a simple four-note whistle; the western meadowlark (S. neglecta), from western Canada to Mexico, has an intricate fluting song. Meadowlarks eat insects in summer and seeds in fall and winter. Their nests are grass domes hidden in fields.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on meadowlark, visit Britannica.com.