These birds have a small gray bill and a white wing patch. Adult males in breeding plumage are black except for their white wing patch. Other birds are more sparrow-like in appearance; they have dark brown upperparts and white underparts, with streaking on the back, breast and flanks. The wings are dark with brown edges.
Their breeding habitat is prairie regions in central Canada and the mid-western United States. The nest is an open cup on the ground in a grassy area. The birds typically nest in dispersed colonies. Males fly up over their territory and sing while descending to declare ownership of a nesting territory. The song consists of a mix of whistles and trills. The call is a soft hoo.Flocks of these birds migrate to southern Texas and Mexico in the fall.
They forage on the ground, mainly eating insects in summer and seeds in winter; they sometimes take short flights in pursuit of insects. Outside of the nesting season, they often feed in flocks.
This bird's numbers have decreased with the loss of natural prairie habitat.
The lark bunting is the state bird of Colorado.