Large-billed lark

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Large-billed lark
Galerida magnirostris magnirostris, De Hoop-natuurreservaat, Birding Weto, a.jpg
Nominate race at De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Alaudidae
Genus: Galerida
Species: G. magnirostris
Binomial name
Galerida magnirostris
(Stephens, 1826)

see text

Galerida magnirostris distribution map.png
     resident range[2]
  • Alauda magnirostris
  • Calendula magnirostris
  • Galerida crassirostris

The large-billed lark or southern thick-billed lark (Galerida magnirostris) is a small passerine bird found in southern Africa. The name "large-billed lark" may also refer to Bradfield's lark. The name "thick-billed lark" more commonly refers to the species of the same name (i.e. Rhamphocoris clotbey).

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

The large-billed lark was originally placed in the genus Alauda, and then Calendula until that genus was subsequently re-named to the present Galerida.[3] Another alternate name used for the large-billed lark is the long-billed lark.[4]


Three subspecies are recognized:[5]

  • G. m. magnirostris (Stephens, 1826): Found in south-western South Africa
  • G. m. sedentaria Clancey, 1993: Found in south-western Namibia and western South Africa
  • Orange Free State large-billed lark, G. m. harei (Roberts, 1924): Found in central South Africa, Lesotho


The large-billed lark is 18 cm in length. It is relatively short-tailed and has a thick bill with a yellow base to the lower mandible. It has streaked brown-grey upperparts, and a long white supercilium. Like other species in the genus, it has a crest that can be raised in display or alarm. The underparts are cream-coloured with heavy dark streaking on the breast. The heavy bi-coloured bill distinguishes this species from all other African larks.

The call of this very vocal species is a soft creaking "treeeeleeeeleee".

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The large-billed lark is a resident breeder in southern South Africa, Lesotho and southernmost Namibia. Its natural habitat is fynbos, karoo scrub and mountain grassland. The large-billed lark is also found in cultivated and fallow agricultural land.

Behaviour and ecology[edit]

Like other larks, the large-billed lark nests on the ground. Its food is seeds and insects, the latter especially in the breeding season.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Galerida magnirostris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Based on maps in the Handbook of the Birds of the World and the BirdLife data zone
  3. ^ "Galerida magnirostris - Avibase". Retrieved 2016-12-06. 
  4. ^ "Galerida magnirostris - Avibase". Retrieved 2016-12-10. 
  5. ^ "IOC World Bird List 6.4". IOC World Bird List Datasets. doi:10.14344/ 

External links[edit]