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Flappet Lark - BirdForum Opus

Photo by nkgray
Near Kolwezi, DRC, November 2008
Mirafra rufocinnamomea


Length 14-15 cm, mass 21-32 g.

Similar to the Rufous-naped Lark, but smaller and darker with rufous-edged wings. Tail is distinctive and a key identification feature, being narrow, often appearing untidy, and having dark brown central rectrices and rufous outer ones.


Some subspecies are very dark above


Probably subspecies torrida
Photo by scarle nick scarle
Serengeti NP, Tanzania, November 2017

Sub-Saharan Africa:
Western Africa: Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Zaire
Eastern Africa: Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal and Swaziland.



Considerable geographic variation; 15 subspecies have been described[1]:


Grasslands and grassy openings in woodlands and savanna.


Usually solitary or in pairs.


Forages on the ground for invertebrates and seeds.


Monogamous and territorial. The nest is a domed or partly domed structure built of grass on the ground. Two to three eggs are laid (October to April in southern Africa).


Display flight is distinctive if witnessed - two to five bursts of wing-clapping (prrrrt prrrt-rrrt), sometimes followed by a thin, barely audible whistle, delivered as the bird circles in an undulating flight.


  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. Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533
  3. Birdforum thread showing one of the dark forms of Flappet Lark

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