Blanford's lark

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Blanford's lark
Conservation status
Not recognized (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Alaudidae
Genus: Calandrella
Species: C. blanfordi
Binomial name
Calandrella blanfordi
(Shelley, 1902)

Blanford's lark[1] or Blanford's short-toed lark (Calandrella blanfordi) is a small passerine bird of the lark family, Alaudidae. It occurs in north-east Africa and Arabia. Its common name commemorates the English zoologist William Thomas Blanford. It was formerly included in either the greater short-toed lark (C. brachydactyla) or the red-capped lark (C. cinerea) but is now commonly treated as a separate species. Erlanger's lark (C. erlangeri) is sometimes included in this species.

It is 14–15 centimetres long. The upperparts are pale sandy-brown with some darker streaking and the crown is rufous. The underparts are pale and plain apart from a small dark patch on the side of the neck made up of vertical streaks. The greater short-toed lark is similar but has a greyer, more-streaked crown. Erlanger's and red-capped larks have darker upperparts with more streaking and a darker rufous crown. Erlanger's lark has larger dark neck-patches while in red-capped lark the patches are rufous.

Blanford's lark has a sparrow-like flight-call. The song is given in a circular song-flight and includes a mixture of chew-chew-chew-chew notes and fluid phrases.

There are three subspecies: C. b. blanfordi in Eritrea, C. b. daaroodensis in northern Somalia and C. b. eremica in Yemen and south-west Saudi Arabia. They occur on open stony plains, often with bushes. In Arabia, it breeds between 1800 and 2500 metres above sea-level with some birds dispersing to lower ground in winter. The species is often seen in flocks outside the breeding season.

References[edit]

  • Arlott, Norman (2007) Birds of the Palearctic: Passerines, HarperCollins, London.
  • Beolens, Bo & Watkins, Michael (2003) Whose Bird?: Men and women commemorated in the common names of birds, Christopher Helm, London.
  • Hollom, P. A. D.; Porter, R. F.; Christensen, S. & Willis, Ian (1988) Birds of the Middle East and North Africa, T & AD Poyser, Calton, England.
  • Sinclair, Ian & Ryan, Peter (2003) Birds of Africa south of the Sahara, Struik, Cape Town.