Lark Bunting (Calamospiza melanocorys)

Lark Bunting

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Emberizidae | [latin] Calamospiza melanocorys | [UK] Lark Bunting | [FR] Pinson noir et blanc | [DE] Prarieammer | [ES] Gorrion alipalido | [NL] Prairie-gors


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Passerella melanocorys
Calamospiza melanocorys NA c to nc Mexico

Physical charateristics

A prairie bird. Gregarious. Male in spring: Black, with large white wing patches (male Bobolink has white patches on the body, not on the wings). Female, young,
andb winter male: Brown, streaked; pattern suggests female Purple Finch. Usually some birds in the flock show whitish wing patches.

Listen to the sound of Lark Bunting

[audio: Bunting.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 27 cm wingspan max.: 30 cm
size min.: 14 cm size max.: 18 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 12 days
fledging min.: 8 days fledging max.: 9 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 6  


North America : Central


Plains, prairies. Breeds mostly on native
shortgrass prairie; also on sagebrush plains with understory of grass and weeds. During migration and winter, found in many kinds of open country, including prairies, agricultural fields, desert grassland, weedy vacant lots.


In courtship, male performs a flight song display: flies up to 20-30′ above ground, then floats or flutters back to ground on outstretched wings, while singing. A male may have more than one mate.
Nest: Site is on ground in
grassy area, usually sheltered or protected by overhanging grass or weeds. Often sunken in small depression in soil, so that rim of nest is level with ground or only slightly above it. Nest is an open cup made of grass, weeds, rootlets, lined with fine g
rass, plant down, animal hair.
Eggs: 4-5, sometimes 3-7. Pale blue to greenish blue, usually unmarked, sometimes dotted with reddish brown. Incubation is mostly by female (male may help at times), 11-12 days.
Young: Both parents feed the nestlings. Young probably leave the nest about 9 days after hatching. 1 brood per year, sometimes 2.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects and seeds.
Summer diet is predominantly insects, especially grasshoppers, also beetles, true bugs, bees, ants, and many others. Also eats many seeds, especially in winter, mainly those of weeds and grasses, also some waste grain.
Behavior: Forages mostly
while running and walking on the ground, picking up items from soil or from plant stems. After flushing insects from ground, will pursue them in short flights. During migration and winter, almost always feeds in flocks, sometimes loosely associated with o
ther seed-eating birds.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Lark Bunting status Least Concern


Prairies of southern Canada to northern Texas. Winters southern United States to central Mexico. Migration:
Fall migration begins very early, with some appearing south of the breeding range by late July; some linger in wintering areas into May. Migrates in flocks.

Distribution map

Lark Bunting distribution range map

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