Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Eastern Meadowlark - Sturnella magna
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General Comments The Eastern Meadowlark is the classic grassland bird of the eastern United States. As with nearly all grassland birds on the continent, it has suffered strong declines in numbers, though where suitable pastures are present, it is still common. It is somewhat migratory, but it is found in all North Carolina counties during the year, as a breeder and in winter (though scarce in the mountains at that season). In all seasons, it is a bird of pastures and meadows, without or essentially with no woody seedlings/saplings. It will feed on lawns and in harvested croplands with little cover, but it spends most of its time in grasses from 5-12" high.
Breeding Status Breeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank S4B,S4N
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Permanent resident, with migratory movements; somewhat declining. Generally common across the region, in all seasons, where there is suitable habitat. Slightly more numerous in winter than in summer. Peak counts:
Piedmont Permanent resident, with migratory movements; declining. Generally fairly common to common across the region, in all seasons, where there is suitable habitat. Formerly common prior to about 1980. Peak counts:
Mountains Permanent resident, with migratory movements; somewhat declining. In summer, generally fairly common (formerly common) at low to middle elevations, up to about 3,500 feet; uncommon to perhaps 4,000 feet. Casual at high elevations (even over 6,000 feet) in migration. Much less numerous in winter, when generally uncommon (at best) in the lower elevations (below 2,500 feet), and rare higher. Peak counts:
Finding Tips None needed.
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Attribution LeGrand[2012-11-08], LeGrand[2011-12-19], LeGrand[2011-10-09]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.
NC Breeding Season Map
Map depicts assumed breeding season abundance for the species.
NA Maps
(source NatureServe)

View NatureServe distribution maps for Sturnella magna