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

Priorities for Future Research


Very little is known about the breeding biology, diet, behavior, and population status of this species.

Future studies should focus primarily on the breeding biology, as it pertains to the population status and trends of Chihuahuan Meadowlark. Data is needed on breeding timing; nest site and nest characteristics; eggs, including measurements and incubation timing; hatching time, growth and development from nestling to fledging; parental care; and brood parasitism. A comprehensive long-term survivorship study could address these unknowns and shed some much-needed light onto population trends of this species.

Banding studies of Chihuahuan Meadowlark (or desert grassland birds more generally) could include fecal sampling for diet analysis of both parents and young, blood sampling for blood parasites, and body condition analysis for ectoparasites. Additionally, little is known on the migration patterns (or lack their of) for either subspecies of Chihuahuan Meadowlark. The very few studies that have focused on this species (when its status was a subspecies) only focused on S. lilianae lilianae, so even less is known about S. l. auropectoralis. Given the range disjunction and limited range of S. l. auropectoralis, future studies should prioritize obtaining data from both subspecies. This would contribute greatly to our collective understanding of this species' general biology.

Generally, the data show this species is declining. However, we do not know the rate at which it is declining, nor if that rate is even across both subspecies. With increased drought conditions and hotter temperatures in this species' range, climate change may be impacting this species greatly. Estimates of population size are necessary to understand this species' trends.

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