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Rusty Lark - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Rusty Bushlark

Mirafra rufa


13-15 cm. A medium-sized to small lark.

  • Narrow buff supercilium
  • Dark-streaked rufous ear-coverts
  • Rufous crown and upperparts, streaked black and buff
  • Blackish tail with rufous central feather pair
  • Buffy underparts with slightly paler throat and darker brown and rufous streaked and mottled breast
  • Bill blackish-horn above, whitish lower mandible
  • lynesi with almost plain upperparts
  • nigriticola has darker upperparts, is richer buff below and heavier streaked on the breast

Sexes similar, juveniles are paler above and more streaked.

Similar species

Has a longer tail without wide sides compared with other larks in the range. Has a paler upperside and buff (and not rufous) underparts than similar Flappet Lark.


Africa, in savanna at the southern edge of the Sahara from Mali to Sudan.
A poorly known species, locally common but mostly scarce in its range.


Three subspecies recognized:

  • M. r. nigriticola from eastern Mali to northern Togo and Niger
  • M. r. rufa from Chad to western Sudan (Darfur)
  • M. r. lynesi in central Sudan (Kordofan)


Dry savanna and open woodland on rocky ridges.



Feeds on insects and seeds.
Forages singly or in pairs on the ground.


Not much known. Display seen from May to July, also in September in Chad. The male performs a display flight, drooping steeply to the ground or treetop perch. No information about nest and eggs.


Rain-related movements recorded.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9., with updates to August 2014. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2015. IOC World Bird Names (version 5.2). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved May 2015)

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