Environmental Research Unit, PO Box 434, Stanley, Falkland Islands
Long-tailed MeadowlarkSturnella loyca falklandica
Local Name: Robin, Military Starling
Breeding Range: Falkland Islands
Falklands Population: ~10,000 breeding pairs
World Population: as above (subspecies restricted to Falklands)
Widespread around most of the Falklands, the Long-tailed Meadowlark has a preference for settlements and coastal areas. Only the males have the bright red breast, but the distinctive shape allows even the females to be readily identified from similar species. Nests woven from grass, often with an entrance tunnel, are hidden amongst ground vegetation or gorse. Two to four eggs are laid from August to December, hatching in about two weeks. Chicks fledge after another two weeks, allowing two or sometimes three broods in a season. A wide variety of invertebrates are taken as food, including worms, grubs, beetles, caterpillars and marine invertebrates taken from the shore. The female does all the nest-building, incubating and feeding of young, who remain dependent for some time after fledging.