Streaked brown above and yellow below with distinctive black "V" on breast. In flight, short wings and spiky tail with white outer feathers are apparent. Breeds in fields and grasslands throughout much of western North America, regularly as far east as Michigan. Winters in a wider range of open habitats, even agricultural fields and roadsides. Extremely similar to Eastern Meadowlark and best distinguished by voice: listen for musical gurgling song and "chuk" calls. In winter, plumage looks paler and more washed-out than Eastern Meadowlark, with a less contrasting head pattern. Western is also more likely to be in flocks and areas with shorter grass (less pristine, extensive grasslands).