Montana State Bird
- Official Montana State Bird: Western Meadowlark
- Family: Icteridae, Blackbirds
- Scientific name: Sturnella neglecta
- Length: 9.5" (24 cm)
- Diet: Insects, few spiders, sowbugs, snails; grass and forb
Song a rich, low, descending warble sleep loo
lidi lidijuvil; begins with well-spaced, clear, short whistles and
ends with rapid gurgle. Common call a low, bell-like pluk;
blackbird-like but more musical; also a slow, dull rattle
vididididididi. Flight call slightly lower than Eastern.
- Habitat: Grasslands, cultivated fields and
pastures, meadows, prairies.
- Displays: Courtship: male spreads and drags tail, nape
feathers erect, bill pointed sown, wings partly open, while softly
singing; song-flight on rapidly vibrating wings, hovers slightly above
- Number of broods: 2
- Nest: In natural or scraped depression; of coarse
grass, lined with finer grass, hair. Domed canopy of grass, bark,
forbs interwoven with surrounding vegetation; opening on one side.
- Eggs: Averages 3-7 white eggs, marked with
browns, purples. 1.1" (28 mm).
- Incubation period: 13-15 days
- Fledge: 12 days after hatching
- Longevity Record: 6 Years and 6 months (according to USGS
Bird Banding Lab)
When asked in 1930 which bird best represented Montana, the state's school children responded overwhelmingly with the meadowlark. Legislators agreed and in the year 1931, the Western Meadowlark was officially named the Montana State Bird.
The Western Meadowlark is also the State Bird of five other "Western" states besides Montana:
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