Tuesday 21 May
Long-tailed meadowlark (Sturnella loyca)
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Long-tailed meadowlark fact file
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Long-tailed meadowlark description
In addition to having the longest tail, the aptly named long-tailed meadowlark is by far the largest of the seven species of New World blackbird in the genus Sturnella (2). The male has a brilliant red breast and is mostly blackish-brown above, while the female is considerably paler and more streaked, and has a much fainter pinkish tinge to the breast (2) (3) (4). Furthermore, although both sexes have a prominent stripe above the eye, the female’s is all white, while the male’s is red in front of the eye and white behind (2).
- Length: 24-25.5 cm (2)
Long-tailed meadowlark biology
The long-tailed meadowlark forages on the ground for a variety insects and seeds (3). It is a conspicuous species that usually forms small flocks, except when breeding, and commonly uses trees, shrubs, poles and fences as perches (2). These perches, which are thought to be an essential component of this species’ habitat, are used for calling and singing (2) (3). As is typical of species in this noisy family (6), the long-tailed meadow lark’s song is loud and wheezy (2). Nests of the long-tailed meadowlark are known to be parasitized by the shiny cowbird, which lay their own eggs in the meadowlark’s nests (7) (8). This sometimes results in meadowlark adults unwittingly incubating the eggs of the shiny cowbird, and rearing its young (8).Top
Long-tailed meadowlark rangeTop
Long-tailed meadowlark habitat
Found in arid-grassy areas, especially with scattered scrub, and in pastures and cultivated meadows (2).Top
Long-tailed meadowlark status
Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Long-tailed meadowlark threats
The long-tailed meadowlark has a large distribution and is not thought to be threatened overall (5).Top
Long-tailed meadowlark conservation
There are currently no conservation measures in place for the long-tailed meadowlark.Top
Find out more
For information on the conservation of birds across the Americas see:
- American Bird Conservancy:
For more information on this and other bird species please see:
- BirdLife International:
AuthenticationThis information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: email@example.comTop
- The act of keeping eggs warm so that development is possible.
- In general, a relationship between two species in which one benefits at the expense of the other.
- IUCN Red List (May, 2009)
- Ridgely, R.S. and Tudor, G. (1989) The Birds of South America, Volume I: The Oscine Passerines: Jays, Swallows, Wrens, Thrushes and Allies, Vireos, Wood-warblers, Tanagers, Icterids and Finches. The University of Texas Press, Austin.
- Gochfeld, M. (1979) Interspecific territoriality in red-breasted meadowlarks and a method for estimating the mutuality of their participation. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 5: 159 - 170.
- Benites, P., Tubaro, P.L., Lijtmaer, D.A., Lougheed, S.C. and Eaton, M.D. (2007) Color differences among closely related species of Red-breasted Meadowlarks (Sturnella). Condor, 109: 605 - 616.
- BirdLife International (May, 2009)
- Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
- Gochfeld, M. (1979) Brood parasite and host coevolution: interactions between shiny Cowbirds and two species of meadowlarks. American Naturalist, 113: 855 - 870.
- Fraga, R.M. (2002) Notes on new or rarely reported Shiny Cowbird hosts from Argentina. Journal of Field Ornithology, 73(2): 213 - 219.
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