The adult Eastern meadowlark measures 19 to 28 cm (7.5 to 11 in) long , with a wing span of 35 to 40 cm (14 to 16 in). Body mass ranges from 76 to 150 g. Females are smaller in all physicial dimensions. Adults have yellow underparts with a black V on the breast and white flanks with black streaks. The upperparts are mainly brown with black streaks. They have a long pointed bill; the head is striped with light brown and black. This bird is very similar in appearance to the Western Meadowlark but the Eastern Meadowlark has a jumbled and flutey song.

Habitat and Distribution

Their breeding habitat is grasslands and prairie, also pastures and hay fields. The bird is a permanent resident in much of its range, though most northern birds migrate southwards in winter. In Central and South America, they tend to be limited to the eastern (Atlantic) side of the continent but recently the range is expanding towards the Pacific western side in agricultural-type areas.


These birds forage on the ground or in low vegetation, sometimes probing with its bill. They mainly eat arthropods, but also seeds and berries.


Nesting occurs throughout the summer months. The nest is also on the ground, covered with a roof woven from grasses. There may be more than one nesting female in a male's territory.

Calls and Songs

The song of this bird is of pure, melancholy whistles.