Nebraska State Bird - Western Meadowlark


Western Meadowlark

(Sturnella neglecta)
Adopted on March 22, 1929.

At a Nebraska Federation of Women's Clubs (NFWC) convention at Kearney on Oct. 25, 1928, the following resolution was proposed:

Whereas, the Conservation division of NFWC endorses the suggesstion of the General Federation chairman of the division of Wild Life to choose for Nebraska a state bird, therefore be it resolved, that a bird typical of the prairies and abundant in all parts of the state be chosen by this convention assembled and the result combined with the vote of the school children of the state and interested societies to be presented to the next session of the State Legislature for legal acceptance.

Once the resolution was adopted, a list of birds was submitted. The five birds receiving the highest votes were the western meadowlark, robin, bobwhite, brown thrasher and house wren.

At the request of the N.F.W.C., Rep. F. C. Rundle of Hamilton County introduced a joint and concurrent resolutation declaring the western meadowlark the state bird. Then-governor Adam McMullen signed the bill on March 22, 1929.

Source: Nebraska Bluebook, 1994-95, pg. 24.

There are few song birds on the Great Plains whose melodic call can evocate such delight and joy as the Western Meadowlark. Undoubtedly that's why it was selected as the State Bird.

The western meadowlark is abundant throughout the state and is noted for its joyous song. The birds are eight to 11 inches long and are brown and streaked above, with bright yellow underparts interrupted by a bold crescent of black across the upper breast, and white outer tail feathers. The birds nest on the ground in grassy fields or meadows and feed largely on insects.

  • Length: 8.5 inches
  • Sharply-pointed bill
  • Buff and brown head stripes
  • Yellow underparts with black "v" on breast
  • White flanks with black streaks
  • Brown upperparts with black streaks
  • Brown tail with white outer tail feathers
  • Juvenile and winter plumages somewhat duller
  • Frequents open habitats
Kingdom Animalia -- animals
   Phylum Chordata -- chordates
      Subphylum Vertebrata -- vertebrates
         Class Aves -- birds
            Order Passeriformes -- perching birds
               Family Fringillidae -- buntings, finches, grosbeaks, old world finches, sparrows
                  Genus Sturnella Vieillot, 1816 -- meadowlarks
                     Species Sturnella neglecta Audubon, 1844 -- Pradero occidental, western meadowlark