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Stark's Lark

From Opus

(Redirected from Spizocorys starki)
Spizocorys starki
Photo by nkgrayPhoto taken: Hotazel, Northern Cape, South Africa
Photo by nkgray
Photo taken: Hotazel, Northern Cape, South Africa

Eremalauda starki


[edit] Identification

Length 13-14 cm, mass 14-23 g. A small, pale lark.

Adult: The upper parts are pale brown with dark brown streaks. The lores, eyebrows, and underparts are whitish; the breast has a few brown speckles. The bill is pale and fairly heavy. The eyes are brown and the legs and feet are pinkish white.

[edit] Distribution

North-western South Africa, Namibia, coastal south-western Angola, and extreme south-western Botswana.

[edit] Taxonomy

Recent molecular analysis (Tieleman et al., 2002) supports the inclusion of this species in the genus Spizocorys, as done by Sinclair & Ryan (2003), De Juana et al. (2004), Hockey et al. (2005) and Clements (2007). It was formerly placed in Eremalauda.

Two subspecies have been described:

  • S. s. starki; and
  • S. s. gregaria.

However, differences between these races are small, and they are not recognised by Kieth et al. (1992) and Hockey et al. (2005).

[edit] Habitat

Sparse, arid to semi-arid grasslands and shrublands; gravelly and stony surfaces are preferred.

[edit] Behaviour

Found singly, in pairs or in flocks; thousands may congregate where grass emerges after rain. Forages on the ground, mainly for seeds, but also for arthropods and green plant material.

Breeding: Monogamous and territorial. The nest is a hollow excavated in the soil and lined with white inflorescences and awns of grasses. Two to four eggs are laid, mainly March to August after late summer rains, but breeding may occur at other times in response to rain.

[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

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

Tieleman BI, Williams JB & Bloomer P. 2002. Adaptation of metabolism and evaporative water loss along an aridity gradient. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B 270, 207-214.

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