Larks (Alaudidae)

Larks (Alaudidae)

Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis)

Rufous-naped Lark, Mirafra africana, Jao Camp, Ngamiland, Botswana, AfricaThe members of the Lark family Alaudidae occur naturally in the Old World, as well as in northern and eastern Australia; with the exception of the Shore Lark, which has expanded its territory into North America, where it is commonly referred to as the Horned Lark.

 

Description

These small to medium-sized birds measure from 12 to 24 cm (5 to 8 inches) in length (including the tail) and weigh between 15 to 75 grams (0.5 to 2.6 ounces).

Some lark species have heavy bills that are suitable for cracking seeds open, while others have long, down-curved bills, suitable for digging through litter in their search of insects.

Most lark species have a mostly streaked brown plumage, with some bold black or white markings, and long hind claws.

 

Calls / Vocalizations

Larks are known for their extravagant and melodious songs mostly given in display flight or when defending their territories.

 

Breeding / Nesting

Most species build their nests directly on the ground out of plant material. Some species nest in cup nests, while others build more complicated, partly domed nests. Some desert species nest very low in bushes.

The average clutch consists of 2 - 6 eggs that are typically speckled. These eggs are incubated for about 11 - 16 days to hatching.

 

Diet / Feeding

Larks mostly feed on insects and seeds; although the adults of some species exclusively eat seeds, all species feed their young insects for at least the first week after hatching to meet their greater requirement of protein needed for growth and development.

Many species use their bills to dig into the ground cover to find food.

Sabota Lark, Mirafra sabota

 

Genera and Subspecies

  • Genus: Mirafra
    • Monotonous Lark, Mirafra passerina
    • Singing Bushlark, Mirafra cantillans
    • Australasian Bushlark, Mirafra javanica
    • Latakoo Lark, Mirafra cheniana
    • White-tailed Lark, Mirafra albicauda
    • Madagascar Lark, Mirafra hova
    • Kordofan Lark, Mirafra cordofanica
    • Williams's Lark, Mirafra williamsi
    • Friedmann's Lark, Mirafra pulpa
    • Red-winged Lark, Mirafra hypermetra
    • Somali Long-billed Lark, Mirafra somalica
    • Ash's Lark, Mirafra ashi
    • Angola Lark, Mirafra angolensis
    • Rufous-naped Lark, Mirafra africana
    • Flappet Lark, Mirafra rufocinnamomea
    • Clapper Lark, Mirafra apiata
    • Collared Lark, Mirafra collaris
    • Indian Bushlark or Red-winged Bushlark, Mirafra erythroptera
    • Gillett's Lark, Mirafra gilletti
    • Fawn-colored Lark, Mirafra africanoides (sometimes placed in Calendulauda)
    • Rufous-winged Bushlark, Mirafra assamica
    • Jerdon's Bushlark Mirafra affinis
    • Rusty Lark, Mirafra rufa
    • Pink-chested Lark, Mirafra poecilosterna (sometimes placed in Calendulauda)
    • Degodi Lark, Mirafra degodiensis
    • Sabota Lark, Mirafra sabota (sometimes placed in Calendulauda)
  • Genus: Pinarocorys
    • Rufous-rumped Lark, Pinarocorys erythropygia
    • Dusky Lark, Pinarocorys nigricans
  • Genus: Heteromirafra
    • Archer's Lark, Heteromirafra archeri
    • Sidamo Lark, Heteromirafra sidamoensis
    • Rudd's Lark, Heteromirafra ruddi
  • Genus: Certhilauda
    • Cape Lark, Certhilauda curvirostris
    • Algulhas Long-billed Lark, Certhilauda brevirostris
    • Eastern Long-billed Lark, Certhilauda semitorquata
    • Karoo Long-billed Lark, Certhilauda subcoronata
    • Benguela Lark, Certhilauda benguelensis
    • Short-clawed Lark, Certhilauda chuana
    • Dune Lark, Certhilauda erythrochlamys
    • Karoo Lark, Certhilauda albescens
    • Barlow's Lark, Certhilauda barlowi
    • Ferruginous Lark, Certhilauda burra
  • Genus: Chersomanes
    • Spike-heeled Lark, Chersomanes albofasciata
  • Genus: Eremopterix
    • Black-eared Sparrow-lark, Eremopterix australis
    • Chestnut-backed Sparrow-lark, Eremopterix leucotis
    • Black-crowned Sparrow-lark, Eremopterix nigriceps
    • Grey-backed Sparrow-lark, Eremopterix verticalis
    • Chestnut-headed Sparrow-lark, Eremopterix signata
    • Fischer's Sparrow-lark, Eremopterix leucopareia
    • Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark, Eremopterix grisea
  • Genus: Ammomanes
    • Bar-tailed Lark, Ammomanes cincturus
    • Rufous-tailed Lark, Ammomanes phoenicurus
    • Desert Lark, Ammomanes deserti
    • Gray's Lark, Ammomanes grayi
  • Genus: Alaemon
    • Greater Hoopoe-lark, Alaemon alaudipes
    • Lesser Hoopoe-lark, Alaemon hamertoni
  • Genus: Ramphocoris
    • Thick-billed Lark, Ramphocoris clotbey
  • Genus: Melanocorypha
    • Calandra Lark, Melanocorypha calandra
    • Bimaculated Lark, Melanocorypha bimaculata
    • Tibetan Lark, Melanocorypha maxima
    • Mongolian Lark, Melanocorypha mongolica
    • White-winged Lark, Melanocorypha leucoptera
    • Black Lark, Melanocorypha yeltoniensis
  • Genus: Calandrella
    • Greater Short-toed Lark, Calandrella brachydactyla
    • Blanford's Lark, Calandrella blanfordi
    • Hume's Lark, Calandrella acutirostris
    • Lesser Short-toed Lark, Calandrella rufescens
    • Red-capped Lark, Calandrella cinerea
    • Asian Short-toed Lark, Calandrella cheleensis
    • Sand Lark, Calandrella raytal
    • Somali Short-toed Lark, Calandrella somalica
  • Genus: Spizocorys
    • Pink-billed Lark, Spizocorys conirostris
    • Botha's Lark, Spizocorys fringillaris
    • Sclater's Lark, Spizocorys sclateri
    • Obbia Lark, Spizocorys obbiensis
    • Masked Lark, Spizocorys personata
  • Genus: Eremalauda
    • Dunn's Lark, Eremalauda dunni
    • Stark's Lark, Eremalauda starki
  • Genus: Chersophilus
    • Dupont's Lark, Chersophilus duponti
  • Genus: Galerida
    • Crested Lark, Galerida cristata
    • Thekla Lark, Galerida theklae
    • Malabar Lark, Galerida malabarica
    • Sun Lark, Galerida modesta
    • Sykes's Lark, Tawny Lark or Sykes' Crested Lark, Galerida deva
    • Large-billed Lark, Galerida magnirostris
  • Genus: Pseudalaemon
    • Short-tailed Lark, Pseudalaemon fremantlii
  • Genus: Lullula
    • Wood Lark, Lullula arborea
  • Genus: Alauda
    • Skylark, Alauda arvensis
    • Japanese Skylark, Alauda japonica
    • Oriental Skylark, Alauda gulgula
    • Raso Skylark, Alauda razae
  • Genus: Eremophila
    • Shore Lark or Horned Lark, Eremophila alpestris
    • Temminck's Lark, Eremophila bilopha

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

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