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.
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)

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, AZ, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
Canada NB, NS, ON, PE, QC

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; WILDSPACETM 2002