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

Sounds and Vocal Behavior



Song development has not been studied in Chihuahuan Meadowlark but presumably similar to Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) and Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) that both show subsong development starting at 31 days, chatter a few days later, and full song development and crystallization during their first winter (37).

Vocal Array

Begging and Location Notes. Has not been studied, but likely similar to Eastern Meadowlark and Western Meadowlark, where young birds give warbling song or begging notes.

Dzert. This is most frequently heard adult call. A single, explosive note , with energy concentrated at 3.0–6.0 kHz, lasting < 0.1 s (21). Given by both sexes, but often less intense in females.

Chatter. Given by both sexes during periods of excitement; has energy concentrated from 2.0 to 8.0 kHz (21).

Primary Song. Males have Primary Song consisting of 3-5 descending whistles, sometimes started with a short low frequency (2-3 kHz) note. Mean song length of 1.29 s (n = 30) across range of both subspecies (18). In west Texas, 3-syllable song length is 1.36 s (n = 36) and 4-syllable song length is between 1.54 s and 1.65 s (n = 27 and n = 4, respectively, 38). Across range of both subspecies, mean median frequency of 3727.32 kHz (n = 30) (18, ). See Cassell (38) for more detailed song measurements in west Texas.

Geographic Variation

No geographic variation in song has been found for Chihuahuan Meadowlark (18).


Has not been studied, but presumably similar to Eastern Meadowlark and Western Meadowlark that show some winter singing but call notes being more commonly used, and frequency of singing increasing during the breeding season (39).

Daily Pattern of Vocalizing

Information needed.

Places of Vocalizing

Has not been studied in Chihuahuan Meadowlark, however likely similar to other meadowlarks where males frequently sing from perches along territory edges and prefer higher perches (40).

Sex Differences

Information needed.

Repertoire and Delivery of Songs

More information needed on repertoire size in Chihuahuan Meadowlark. Individuals of both Eastern Meadowlark and Western Meadowlark have large repertoires with dozens of song types (37).

Social Context and Presumed Functions of Vocalizations

Has not been studied in Chihuahuan Meadowlark.

Nonvocal Sounds

Not known to occur.

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