• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Crested Lark - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Chan
Cáceres, Spain
Galerida cristata

Identification

17–19 cm (6¾-7½ in)

  • Dark streaked grey upperparts
  • White underparts
  • Long spiky erectile crest
  • Reddish underwings

Flight outline shows broad rounded wings and a square tail.

Similar Species

Juvenile
Photo by Theo Mamais
Thessaloniki, Greece, July 2012

Eurasian Skylark and in Iberia and Africa Thekla Lark

Distribution

Europe and Asia from Portugal to northeast China and eastern India; Africa to Niger.

Rare vagrant to the British Isles.

Taxonomy

Formerly included Maghreb Lark from Morocco.

Subspecies

Photo by AJDH
Badaan Farm, Bahrain, March 2007

There are 35 subspecies[1]:

Photo by CannonS2
Israel, June 2009
  • G. c. nigricans: Northern Egypt (Nile Delta)
  • G. c. maculata: Egypt (Nile Valley from Cairo to Aswan and El Faiyum)
  • G. c. halfae: Egypt (Nile Valley south of Aswan) to extreme northern Sudan (Wadi Halfa)
  • G. c. senegallensis: Southern Mauritania, Senegambia and Guinea-Bissau to Niger
  • G. c. jordansi: Northern Niger (Aïr Mountains)
  • G. c. alexanderi (zalingei): Northern Nigeria to western Sudan and north-eastern Zaire
  • G. c. isabellina: Central Sudan (Kordofan to Nile Valley)
  • G. c. altirostris: Eastern Sudan (east of Nile Valley) and Eritrea
  • G. c. somaliensis: Northern Somalia, southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya
  • G. c. tardinata: Southern Arabia
  • G. c. chendoola: Foothills of southern Kashmir to east Pakistan, western and northern India and southern Nepal

Macrorhyncha is sometimes accepted as full species Maghreb Lark.

Habitat

Open, dry country and cultivated land. Breeds on railway lines, harbours and industrial sites.

  • Specifically for Iberia:
    • Fine soils or sand
    • Sand dunes, Dry saltmarsh edges and humanised habitats like farmland, dusty car parks and tracks.
    • Percentage of woody vegetation cover usually very low and including substantial amount of bare ground. Can be near trees, these often Olive, Figs, Citrus, Carob or Almond.
    • Often occurring in small niches of suitable habitats

Behaviour

Shuffling gait when feeding.

Flight

Rather 'heavy' and flapping action with marked undulations.

Breeding

It is a ground nester. The clutch consists of 2-3 eggs.

Diet

The diet includes weed seeds and insects.

Vocalisation

The long flight song can be difficult to separate from Thekla Lark

Listen in an external program Listen in an external program

Listen in an external program Listen in an external program
Recording by Alok Tewari
Dist. Gurgaon, Haryana, India, Feb-2013
Long call containing a variety of notes given by an individual perched on an excavated-earth mound.

Gallery

Click images to see larger version

References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
  3. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6
  4. Birdforum thread on habitat
  5. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links


Top