Ash's lark

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Ash's lark
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Alaudidae
Genus: Mirafra
M. ashi
Binomial name
Mirafra ashi
Colston, 1982

Ash's lark (Mirafra ashi) or Ash's bushlark is a species of lark in the family Alaudidae endemic to Somalia.

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

The bird's common name and Latin binomial commemorate the British ornithologist John Sidney Ash.[2]


Ash's lark is typically 14 centimetres (5.5 in) in length. It has greyish-brown upperparts with paler edging to its mantle feathers, a buff-coloured underbelly and underparts with brownish streaks, a paler belly and vent, a light crest, and buff eyebrow stripes.[3]

Such a description is insufficient, however, since as with some other lark species it is difficult to definitively describe the bird without comparison to its close relatives. In the case of Ash's lark, it is smaller than the rufous-naped lark or the red-winged lark, and more greyish and marked on its mantle than either the singing lark (which has a thicker bill) or the pink-breasted lark (which has a pinkish breast).[3]

Its songs have yet to be identified.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Population data of Ash's lark from recent decades has been greatly lacking. Political unrest has prevented accurate fieldwork in the region for many years.[3]

The only place known to be home to Ash's lark is a small area just north of Uarsciek in south-eastern Somalia, about 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Mogadishu. Even here where it is locally common, however, Ash's lark is easily overlooked because it shares the area with nine other species of lark, including both the red-winged lark and Somali long-billed lark. It is possible that Ash's lark is also present along the coast somewhat to the north of its known range since much of this land is little explored by ornithologists.[3]

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland.

Behaviour and ecology[edit]

Typical behaviour is to run across bare ground between bunches of grass prior to perching atop a tussock. It is threatened by habitat loss to coastal development.[3]

At present, little is known of Ash's lark's ecological relationships.[3]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Mirafra ashi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael (2003). Whose Bird? Men and Women Commemorated in the Common Names of Birds. London: Christopher Helm. p. 30.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Compilers: Phil Benstead, Jonathan Ekstrom; Sue Shutes; Malcolm Starkey; Joe Taylor (2008). "Ash's Lark - BirdLife Species Factsheet". Evaluators: Stuart Butchart, Joe Taylor. BirdLife International . Retrieved May 5, 2009.

External links[edit]