Chihuahuan Meadowlark Sturnella lilianae Scientific name definitions

Johanna K. Beam, Levi A. Jaster, William E. Jensen, and Wesley E. Lanyon
Version: 1.0 — Published October 25, 2022

Conservation and Management

Conservation Status

Chihuahuan Meadowlark has not been considered a separate species by BirdLife International, and thus has not had its conservation status evaluated under IUCN Red List criteria. The species is declining in New Mexico and the Chihuahuan Desert (53). Threats to this species include land development, invasive species, agriculture, and climate change (53). More study is needed.

Effects of Human Activity

Chihuahuan Meadowlark is sensitive to land development and land use change. Land development projects, such as the formation of new ranches, houses, or commercial buildings, fragments the land into smaller pieces that may be too small to be useful for nesting meadowlarks.

Agricultural practices that directly affect breeding populations include degradation of suitable habitat, grazing and trampling by livestock, mortality from early mowing, and use of pesticides and other contaminants. Intensive agriculture is a major contributor to population declines in other meadowlarks, and likely Chihuahuan Meadowlark as well (54, 55).


Chihuahuan Meadowlark generally prefers nesting in areas with less than 5% woody shrub cover, which includes mesquite, acacia, and juniper (56). Management of woody shrubs may make the habitat more preferable for meadowlarks (57). Chihuahuan Meadowlarks may avoid recently burned areas (58). Management of cattle grazing and agriculture may also help nesting success, but more research is needed in this area (59).

Recommended Citation

Beam, J. K., L. A. Jaster, W. E. Jensen, and W. E. Lanyon (2022). Chihuahuan Meadowlark (Sturnella lilianae), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (N. D. Sly, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.lilmea2.01