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Jody Allair, Director, Community Engagement

Lark Bunting. Photo: Yousif Attia

The Lark Bunting is a spectacular songbird of the Canadian and US prairies. The males are jet black with strikingly white wing coverts, and the females are more subtle with a brown streaked appearance with a reduced white wing patch. This species evolved with the American Bison and as such has become nomadic throughout their range. For nesting they require shortgrass, scattered shrubs, and patches of bare ground.

If you are fortunate to be in the vicinity of a loose breeding colony of Lark Buntings, you will find yourself in awe of their amazing song and flight display where they fly up high and then glide back down to the ground with wings held up, all while belting out a wonderfully melodious song. This is one of the signature experiences on the Canadian shortgrass prairies. And unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly rare.

The Lark Bunting has shown a significant population loss in Canada—a staggering decline of 98% since 1970, which led to them being listed as a Threatened Species in Canada in 2019. The biggest threats these prairie nomads face are conversion of prairie grassland and insecticides. 

Lark Bunting in flight display. Photo: Yousif Attia

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