Lark Buntings

The Lark Buntings (Calamospiza melanocorys) are medium-sized sparrows that occur naturally in Northern America. Their numbers have decreased due to the loss of their natural prairie habitat.

This species has been named the state bird of Colorado.


Lark Buntings have small grey bills and white wing patches.

Breeding adult males have black plumage except for the white wing patches. Outside the breeding season, they look similar to females.

Females and immature birds have sparrow-like plumage, with a dark brown upper plumage and white underparts. There is streaking on the back, breast, and flanks. The wings are dark with brown edges.

Male Lark Bunting


These migratory birds breed in the prairie regions of central Canada, as well as mid-western United States. They migrate in flocks to winter in southern Texas and Mexico.

Nesting / Breeding

Their nest is an open cup typically placed on the ground in a grassy area. They nest in dispersed colonies.

Diet / Feeding

They mostly feed on insects in summer and seeds in winter.

They typically forage on the ground but may take short flights in pursuit of insects.

Outside of the nesting season, they often feed in flocks.

Calls / Vocalizations

Their songs are described as a mix of whistles and trills, and their calls as a soft hoo.

Breeding males establish breeding territories and will fly up and sing while descending to declare ownership.

Photo of author

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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