Bird Quiz: Eastern Meadowlark

Bird Quiz: Eastern Meadowlark

Michele Berger
Published: 10/05/2011

Photo: Mark Eden

This morning, over on National Audubon Society’s Facebook page, we asked you to show off your bird ID skills. Now, show us what you know about the Eastern meadowlark. Scroll past the picture below for the answers.

1. True or False: These birds are in the lark family.

2. What’s the global population of Eastern meadowlarks?
a. 6.9 billion
b. 6.9 million
c. 690,000
d. 69,000

3. What kind of food does the Eastern meadowlark like to eat?

a. crickets, grasshoppers, and other insects during springtime
b. weeds and waste, during the winter
c. both A and B
d. bananas, apples and other fruit

4. True or False: Males of this species will have more than one partner at a time.

5. On both the male and the female Eastern meadowlark—though less distinctly visible on the female—a mark in the shape of what letter extends from either side of the neck to the middle of the chest?
a. X
b. W
c. V
d. J


Photo: Ken Schneider, Flickr Creative Commons

Answers

1. True or False: These birds are in the lark family.
False,
the species actually falls into the Icteridae family, whose other members include orioles and blackbirds, grackles and cowbirds. Family Alaudidae includes birds like the horned lark, seen here.

2. What’s the global population of Eastern meadowlarks?
B, 6.9 million. Like many other species, this one has declined significantly of late. In fact, according to National Audubon Society’s species page, the population has dropped more than 70 percent in four decades.

3. What kind of food does the Eastern meadowlark like to eat?
C, both A and B. The birds tend to focus their efforts on bugs that stay on the surface, but will dig deeper if they want more food. In rare instances—when they are desperate—these robin-sized birds will eat roadkill.

4. True or False: Males of this species will have more than one partner at a time.

True. According to Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds species profile, they’ll have up to two—but not more. 

5. On both the male and the female Eastern meadowlark—though less distinctly visible on the female—a mark in the shape of what letter extends from either side of the neck to the middle of the chest?
C, V.
As Birds of North America online puts it, the female is “slightly duller, less intense throughout, [with the] black crescent somewhat more restricted and obscured by white edgings to feathers.” Juveniles have spots or flecks instead of the V.

For more information about these birds, check Audubon’s species profile page and Cornell’s All About Birds species page.

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