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Spike-heeled Lark

From Opus

C. a. alticola Photo by GarethH Photo taken: Suikerbosrand NR, Gauteng, South Africa
C. a. alticola
Photo by GarethH
Photo taken: Suikerbosrand NR, Gauteng, South Africa
Chersomanes albofasciata


[edit] Identification

Length 15 cm, mass 20-36 g.

The Spike-heeled Lark has a long, slightly decurved bill, an upright stance, a short, white-tipped tail and long, straight hind claws. The breast and belly vary from rufous to pale buff, conrasting with the white chin and throat.

The call is a short trill, piree-piree-piree.

[edit] Distribution

South Africa, Namibia, Botswana]], and southern Angola; there are small isolated populaions in southern Democratic Republic of Congo and northern Tanzania.

[edit] Taxonomy

Chersomanes albofasciata (sensu lato; Sibley & Monroe, 1996; Dickinson, 2003) has ten subspecies:

Beesley's Lark was formerly included in this species.

[edit] Habitat

Sparse grassland and shrubland.

[edit] Behaviour

Generally found in pairs or groups of up to ten. Groups forage on the ground for invertebrates, seeds and fruit; often while a sentinel perches on a short bush or post.

Breeding: Usually monogamous, but sometimes breeds cooperatively. The nest is an open cup of plant material built by both sexes on the ground. Two to five eggs are laid, mainly August to December.

[edit] References

Clements JF. 2007. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to October 2008. Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801445019

De Juana E, Suarez F & Ryan PG. 2004. Family Alaudidae (Larks). In: del Hoyo J, Elliott A & Christie D (eds) Handbook of the Birds of the World Vol. 9. Lynx, Barcelona. Pp. 496-541. ISBN 8487334695

Dickinson EC (ed.) 2003. The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. 3rd ed. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, NJ, USA. ISBN 9780691117010

Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ & Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Robert's Birds of Southern Africa, 7th edition. John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa. ISBN 0620340533

Sinclair I & Ryan P. 2003. Birds of Africa south of the Sahara. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0620207299

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