The Meadowlark is a fairly common bird in many parts of the USA. It is usually about 10 inches long with a sharp bill and brown stripes on its head. One of the easiest ways to identify the meadowlark is by the bright yellow feathers on its throat and belly and the black "V" marking on its front. Its back and tail are brown, although the tail may have white streaks at the tips. The meadowlark has a round body and spends most of its time on the ground.
This bird lives in open grasslands and fields. It is often seen on farms where it eats insects and other pests that might harm crops. The meadowlark also eats grasshoppers, crickets, and ants. In the winter it will also eat nuts and seeds. One of the most distinctive features of the meadowlark is its song. The male meadowlark makes a 5-note tune while perched on a tree-branch or fence post. In some species the song is more complicated with trills and warbles. When singing, meadowlarks push their chests forward and throw their heads back.
The song of the meadowlark is also part of the mating process. A male will sing for hours to attract a female in order to mate. After mating, the female begins to build a nest of twigs and grasses in the ground. She digs a hole in the ground, lines it with grass, then uses dung or soil to build a 'roof' or dome over it. This also hides the nest from enemies--it just looks like a pile of soil and grasses. The female will lay 4 to 5 eggs at a time during the summer months. Eggs hatch after 2 weeks. Both parents help care for and feed the young chicks for up to 10 days, after which the young meadowlarks leave the nest.