|Bimaculated lark in Taukum Desert|
Taxonomy and systematics
The bimaculated lark was originally placed in the genus Alauda. The current genus name, Melanocorypha is from Ancient Greek melas, "black", and koruphos a term used by ancient writers for a now unknown bird, but here confused with korudos, "lark". "Bimaculate" and the specific bimaculata are from New Latin bimaculatus, "two-spotted". The alternate name calandra lark should not be confused with the species of the same name. The alternate name Eastern calandra lark is also used for a subspecies of the calandra lark.
This is a large, robust lark, 16–18 cm in length. It is an undistinguished looking species on the ground, mainly streaked grey above and white below, and with two small black patches on the breast sides, which give this species its name. It has a white supercilium.
In flight it shows short broad wings, which are grey-brown below, and a short tail with a white tip, but not white edges. The wing and tail patterns are distinctions from its more westerly relative.
The song is like a harder version of that of calandra lark.
Distribution and habitat
The bimaculated lark is found from west-central Turkey to southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, north-eastern Iran and northern Afghanistan. It is also found in northern Israel, Lebanon, western Syria and northern Iraq. It is mainly migratory, wintering in northeast Africa, and ranges widely throughout the greater Middle East to Pakistan, India and Tibet. It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.
This is a bird of stony semi-desert and higher altitude cultivation. Its nest is on the ground, with 3-4 eggs being laid. Food is seeds and insects, the latter especially in the breeding season. It is gregarious in winter.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Melanocorypha bimaculata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 72, 247. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
- "Bimaculate". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- "Melanocorypha bimaculata - Avibase". avibase.bsc-eoc.org. Retrieved 2016-12-14.