Lark Bunting

photo by Phil Swanson

Calamospiza melanocorys
L 7″ (18 cm).

Song or calls:
Soft “hoo-ee.” Song is series of loud bubbling phrases and trills, mixed with harsher notes.

Description: Breeding male is black overall with white patch on wings and under tip of tail. Winter male is streaked grayish-brown above; white below with brown streaking and buffy sides; white eye line and faint mustache stripe; black on chin. Female is similar to winter male but lacks black on chin. Both sexes have short tail and heavy bluish-gray bill.

lark bunting
Habitat: Mixed short-grass prairie, sage-dominated areas, taller grasses with scattered shrubs, along weedy roadsides, retired croplands, and in alfalfa and clover fields.

Where in Nebraska: Common spring and fall migrant and summer resident in western and central Nebraska. Rare breeder further east.

Fun Facts:

  • Lark Buntings like to drink from water sources often provided as wells for livestock in farmland.
  • Highly gregarious outside the breeding season, and also colonial even during nesting period.

female Lark Bunting - NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission male Lark Bunting - NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
(click image for larger view)