Colorado state bird: Lark Bunting Calamospizamelanocorys
The Lark Bunting is a medium-sized songbird. It has a thick blue-grey bill and dark brown or black eyes. The legs and feet are brown. There are large white patches on the wings and the relatively short tail has white tips.
The breeding male is all black with white wings. The female is greyish brown and has heavy, dark streaking on her upper parts. Her belly is almost all white. The non-breeding male looks similar to the female except for black coloring on the chin.
The Lark Bunting lives in meadows, prairies and sagebrush. They spend winters in cultivated lands, brushy areas, and desert areas.
The Lark Bunting breeds in the Great Plains from southern Alberta and Saskatchewan to northern Texas and northeastern New Mexico. They spend winters from the southern Great Plains to central Mexico.
The Lark Bunting feeds mostly on the ground, but catches some of its food in flight. It feeds on insects such as grasshoppers, ants, beetles, bugs and seeds of wild plants, grains and plant matter.
The female Lark Bunting chooses the nesting site, normally under a shrub. She will scrape out a depression in the ground and line it with grass, fine roots, and plant stems. The male provides most of the nest building materials.
The clutch normally contains 3 to 6 eggs and the incubation period lasts 10 or 11 days. Both parents attend the nest and incubate the eggs. The male occasionally brings food to the female.
The male Lark Bunting is the only sparrow that changes completely out of a bright breeding plumage into a drab winter one.
Since there are few elevated places to perch in prairie lands, male Lark Buntings can often be seen singing inflight to attract the attention of the females. They will fly almost vertically ,then drop back to their original location.
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