New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) - HBW 16, p. 806

French: Sturnelle des prés German: Lerchenstärling Spanish: Pradero Oriental
Other common names: Cuban Meadowlark (hippocrepis)

Taxonomy: A.[lauda] magna Linnaeus, 1758, South Carolina, USA.
Thought to form a superspecies with S. lilianae, the two being geographically separated by distributional gaps; previously treated as conspecific, but they differ vocally and morphologically, and recent DNA data from mitochondria and the sex-linked Z chromosome revealed a deep genetic divergence, supporting treatment as two distinct species; some races currently placed in present species (notably auropectoralis) may belong instead in S. lilianae. Present species is also closely related to S. neglecta. Race hippocrepis may merit full species rank. Subsp.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: A.[lauda] magna Linnaeus, 1758, South Carolina, USA.
Thought to form a superspecies with S. lilianae, the two being geographically separated by distributional gaps; previously treated as conspecific, but they differ vocally and morphologically, and recent DNA data from mitochondria and the sex-linked Z chromosome revealed a deep genetic divergence, supporting treatment as two distinct species; some races currently placed in present species (notably auropectoralis) may belong instead in S. lilianae. Present species is also closely related to S. neglecta. Race hippocrepis may merit full species rank. Subspecific limits, particularly in South America, need further study, e.g. race monticola commonly subsumed into praticola; distributions listed below are tentative. Populations in French Guiana and NE Brazil (Amapá) sometimes treated as race quinta, but type specimen of latter is from Roraima (N Brazil), technically within range of monticola (or praticola); these three taxa require re-evaluation. Race inexspectata has often been listed as “inexpectata” but this is an unjustified emendation. Fifteen subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • magna (Linnaeus, 1758) - breeds SE Canada (S Ontario E to New Brunswick) and E USA from Minnesota E to Maine S to C Texas and C North Carolina.
  • argutula Bangs, 1899 - S USA from Kansas and Oklahoma E to South Carolina and S to E Texas and Florida.
  • hoopesi Stone, 1897 - extreme S USA (SE Texas) and NE Mexico (N Tamaulipas).

     See all 15 subspecies
  • magna (Linnaeus, 1758) - breeds SE Canada (S Ontario E to New Brunswick) and E USA from Minnesota E to Maine S to C Texas and C North Carolina.
  • argutula Bangs, 1899 - S USA from Kansas and Oklahoma E to South Carolina and S to E Texas and Florida.
  • hoopesi Stone, 1897 - extreme S USA (SE Texas) and NE Mexico (N Tamaulipas).
  • auropectoralis G. B. Saunders, 1934 - highlands of W Mexico from Sinaloa S to upper R Lerma drainage (in México) and to coastal Nayarit.
  • mexicana P. L. Sclater, 1861 - coastal lowlands of E Mexico (from N Veracruz) S to Guatemala (Petén) and Belize.
  • griscomi Van Tyne & Trautman, 1941 - coast of N Yucatán, in SE Mexico.
  • hippocrepis (Wagler, 1832) - Cuba, including I of Pines.
  • saundersi Dickerman & A. R. Phillips, 1970 - Pacific lowlands of S Mexico (SE Oaxaca).
  • inexspectata Ridgway, 1888 - Honduras and adjacent NE Nicaragua.
  • alticola Nelson, 1900 - highlands from S Mexico (Chiapas) S to Costa Rica.
  • subulata Griscom, 1934 - Panama (mostly along Pacific slope).
  • meridionalis P. L. Sclater, 1861 - NE Andes from Colombia (Santander and Cundinamarca) E to NW Venezuela (Trujillo).
  • paralios Bangs, 1901 - N Colombia (Santa Marta Mts S to W base of E Andes ) and savannas of N & C Venezuela.
  • praticola C. Chubb, 1921 - E llanos of Colombia and SE Venezuela E to Guyana and Suriname.
  • monticola C. Chubb, 1921 - Guianan highlands from Venezuela (Bolívar) and Guyana E to French Guiana and extreme N Brazil (Roraima and Amapá).