Blanford's lark

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Blanford's lark
Ammomanes Tephrocorys Gronvold.jpg
C. blanfordi (bottom, right)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Alaudidae
Genus: Calandrella
Species: C. blanfordi
Binomial name
Calandrella blanfordi
(Shelley, 1902)

see text

Calandrella blanfordi distribution map.png
  • Calandrella blandfordi
  • Tephrocorys blanfordi

Blanford's lark[2] or Blanford's short-toed lark (Calandrella blanfordi) is a small passerine bird of the lark family, Alaudidae, which is native to north-east Africa and Arabia. Its common name commemorates the English zoologist William Thomas Blanford.

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

Blanford's lark 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 was formerly considered as a subspecies of Blanford's lark (as C. b. erlangeri or C. b. fuertesi).[3] Alternate names for Blanford's lark include Blandford's lark, Blandford's short-toed lark and Blanford's red-capped lark.[4]


Three subspecies are recognized:[5]

  • C. b. eremica - (Reichenow & Peters, JL, 1932): Originally described as a separate species in the genus Spizocorys. Found in south-western Arabia
  • C. b. blanfordi - (Shelley, 1902): Found in northern Eritrea
  • C. b. daaroodensis - White, CMN, 1960: Found in northern Somalia

C. b. eremica and C. b. daaroodensis are recognised as subspecies of a separate species, the Rufous-capped lark (C. eremica) in Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive and by Birdlife International.[6][7]


Blanford's lark 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.

Habitat and movements[edit]

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.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2017). "Calandrella blanfordi". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2017: e.T103766090A112872569. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T103766090A112872569.en. Retrieved 13 January 2018. 
  2. ^ ENGLISH NAME UPDATES - IOC Version 2.9 (July 10, 2011) Archived November 7, 2011, at WebCite, IOC World Bird List
  3. ^ "Calandrella erlangeri - Avibase". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  4. ^ "Calandrella blanfordi - Avibase". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  5. ^ "IOC World Bird List 6.4". IOC World Bird List Datasets. doi:10.14344/ 
  6. ^ del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. (2017). "Rufous-capped Lark (Calandrella eremica)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 19 August 2017. 
  7. ^ BirdLife International (2017). "BirdLife International Checklist Version 9.1" (xlsx). Retrieved 19 August 2017. 
  • 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.