Cape clapper lark

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Cape clapper lark
Mirafra apiata -Namaqua National Park, South Africa-8.jpg
M. apiata in the Namaqua National Park
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Alaudidae
Genus: Mirafra
Species: M. apiata
Binomial name
Mirafra apiata
(Vieillot, 1816)

see text

Mirafra apiata distribution map.png
     resident range
  • Alauda apiata
  • Mirafra batesi
  • Mirafra damarensis
  • Mirafra hewitti

The Cape clapper lark (Mirafra apiata) is a small passerine bird which breeds in southern Africa. It derives its name from the wing clapping which forms part of the display flight. The Cape clapper lark is a species of open grassland and savannah, also inhabiting karoo, fynbos and fallow agricultural land.

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

The Cape clapper lark was originally placed in the genus Alauda. This species and the Eastern clapper lark were formerly considered conspecific as the clapper lark (M. apiata) until split in 2009.[2] The Cape clapper lark and the Eastern clapper lark are regarded as forming a superspecies with the flappet lark, which is found further to the north.[3] Bar-tailed lark is another alternate name for the Cape clapper lark.


Two subspecies are recognized:[4]


This lark is a 15 cm long bird, with a brown crown, rich rufous underparts, and a strong bill. The Cape clapper lark has grey upperparts and a grey face, and the Agulhas clapper lark has dark brown upperparts, although individual variation means that it cannot always be reliably distinguished from the nominate race.

The display commences with an ascending flight with wing flapping. The Cape clapper lark has a slower wing clap compared to the Eastern clapper lark, and its otherwise similar call is longer and rises in pitch more. The Agulhas clapper lark has a fast wing clap, and a descending double whistled "peeeooo" call.


The Cape clapper lark is a skulking species and difficult to find when not displaying. It is not gregarious, and individuals tend to be seen in dry habitats feeding on the ground on seeds and insects.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Mirafra apiata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Species Version 2 « IOC World Bird List". Retrieved 2016-11-22. 
  3. ^ 1931-, Keith, Stuart,; 1934-, Urban, Emil K.,; Martin., Woodcock,; Ian., Willis, (2000-01-01). The birds of Africa. Vol. 6. Academic Press. ISBN 0121373061. OCLC 59539112. 
  4. ^ "IOC World Bird List 6.4". IOC World Bird List Datasets. doi:10.14344/ 

External links[edit]