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Calandra lark (Melanocorypha calandra)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Alaudidae
Genus: Melanocorypha
F. Boie, 1828

M. calandra
M. bimaculata
M. maxima
M. mongolica
M. leucoptera
M. yeltoniensis

Melanocorypha is a small genus of birds in the lark family. Its members mainly occur in temperate Asia from Turkey through Central Asia to China, but the calandra lark also has an extensive European distribution around the Mediterranean.

These larks are mostly partially migratory, moving relatively short distances from the coldest parts of their ranges. Several species are very rare vagrants to western Europe.

These are birds of open cultivation, steppe or semi-desert. They nest on the ground and the young are precocial. The food is seeds supplemented with insects especially in the breeding season. They are gregarious outside the breeding season.

Melanocorypha larks are large, robust birds, 16.5–20 cm long with strong thick bills. Some have the typically undistinguished lark plumage, mainly streaked greyish-brown above and white below, but the, black and white-winged larks have distinctive male plumages. Several species have large black patches on the breast sides.

In flight they show broad wings and a shortish tail. The songs of most species are like that of the skylark.

Species in taxonomic order[edit]

Fossil record[edit]

  • Melanocorypha serdicensis (late Miocene from Hrabarsko, Bulgaria)[1]
  • Melanocorypha donchevi (late Pliocene from Varshets, Bulgaria[2]
  • Melanocorypha minor (Pliocene of Beremend, Hungary) [3]


Simms, Eric (author), Arlott, Norman (illustrator) Larks, Pipits and Wagtails (Collins New Naturalist, 1992) ISBN 0-00-219871-1

  1. ^ Boev, Z. 2012. Neogene Larks (Aves: Alaudidae (Vigors, 1825)) from Bulgaria - Acta zoologica bulgarica, 64 (3), 2012: 295-318.
  2. ^ Boev, Z. 2012. Neogene Larks (Aves: Alaudidae (Vigors, 1825)) from Bulgaria - Acta zoologica bulgarica, 64 (3), 2012: 295-318.
  3. ^ Kessler, E. 2013. Neogene songbirds (Aves, Passeriformes) from Hungary. – Hantkeniana, Budapest, 2013, 8: 37-149.