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Thekla/Crested Lark - Morocco (1 Viewer)

bjd

Active member
Hi all,
Have go myself thoroughly confused with the identification of the attached. I've come to the conclusion they are both thekla lark, but would appreciate a second opinion (if indeed they are identifiable from the attached), and some feedback on why. Thank you.

Bird one attached
 

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bjd

Active member
And bird two. This one seems smaller billed, but I'm assuming is the same species.

Thank you
 

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Muppit17

Well-known member
It would be useful to know where in Morocco these were taken. There are numerous subspecies, in the south alone 5 ssp of Thekla and 2 of Crested, never mind the split Maghreb. and they are not simple to distinguish.

To me the first set of three photo shows a long-billed bird with a concave lower mandible (although confusingly the bill is muddied). In addition the colouration seems to the rich sandy side, and the breast speckling does not have the sharp cut off. Therefore to me it is Crested.

The second is a short billed bird, with a convex bottom edge to the mandible, a colder coloration and a sharp cut off of the breast streaks. Therefore, this strikes me as a Thekla's.

I will always use voice as the clincher for ID, as this is much simpler than images.
 

bjd

Active member
Thanks Muppit17. Every day is a learning day for me! They were taken near Taroudant, in the Souss Mass, in an area of orange groves and ploughed fields. I struggle with larks and pipits at the best of times but until I tried to work this out I was totally oblivious to just how confusing these larks are.
 

Muppit17

Well-known member
Thanks Muppit17. Every day is a learning day for me! They were taken near Taroudant, in the Souss Mass, in an area of orange groves and ploughed fields. I struggle with larks and pipits at the best of times but until I tried to work this out I was totally oblivious to just how confusing these larks are.
Thanks for confirming. Both species (Crested & Thekla) can be seen side by side in that area.
 

bjd

Active member
Thanks again.
Last question - is there a good reference that covers the variations I these species? I feel the need to be better informed in future.
 

Muppit17

Well-known member
Thanks again.
Last question - is there a good reference that covers the variations I these species? I feel the need to be better informed in future.
I think that the two species are treated OK in the Collins guide as long as you are in Europe. Once in North Africa the ssp are a bit more complex. The Handbook of Western Palearctic birds is pretty good for this area, and Morocco: sharing the birds goes into more detail and better describes the calls/songs (which is the best way to tell them anyway).
 

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