Oriental skylark

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Oriental skylark
Oriental Skylark by David Raju (cropped).jpg
In India.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Alaudidae
Genus: Alauda
Species: A. gulgula
Binomial name
Alauda gulgula
Franklin, 1831

see text

The Oriental skylark (Alauda gulgula), also known as the Oriental lark or small skylark, is a species of skylark found in southern and central Asia. Like other skylarks, it is found in open grassland, often near bodies of water, where it feeds on seeds and insects.

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

Other alternate names for the Oriental skylark include Eastern skylark, Indian skylark and lesser skylark.[2]


Thirteen subspecies are recognized:[3]

  • Kashmir skylark (A. g. lhamarum) or Kashmir small skylark - Meinertzhagen, R & Meinertzhagen, A, 1926: Found in the Pamir Mountains and western Himalayas
  • A. g. inopinata - Bianchi, 1905: Found on the Tibetan Plateau and north-western China
  • A. g. vernayi - Mayr, 1941: Found in the eastern Himalayas and south-western China
  • Western Oriental skylark (A. g. inconspicua) or Turkestan small skylark - Severtsov, 1873: Originally described as a separate species. Found from southern Kazakhstan to eastern Iran, Pakistan and north-western India
  • A. g. gulgula - Franklin, 1831: Found from north-central India to Sri Lanka and east to northern Indochina
  • A. g. dharmakumarsinhjii - Abdulali, 1976: Found in west-central India
  • A. g. australis - Brooks, WE, 1873: Originally described as a separate species. Found in south-western India
  • A. g. weigoldi - Hartert, 1922: Found in central and eastern China
  • A. g. coelivox - Swinhoe, 1859: Originally described as a separate species. Found in southern and south-eastern China, northern Vietnam
  • A. g. sala - Swinhoe, 1870: Originally described as a separate species. Found on Hainan Island (off south-eastern China)
  • A. g. herberti - Hartert, 1923: Found from central and south-eastern Thailand to southern Vietnam
  • A. g. wattersi - Swinhoe, 1871: Originally described as a separate species. Found in Taiwan
  • A. g. wolfei - Hachisuka, 1930: Found on Luzon (northern Philippines)


Oriental skylarks are about 16 cm long. They have streaked, yellow-brown upper plumage, with white outer tail feathers and a short crest. Both sexes are similar.

Behaviour and ecology[edit]

These skylarks frequently rocket up into the sky, fluttering and singing before descending down to earth. Male Oriental skylarks may also hover in the air and sing, in order to attract a mate.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Alauda gulgula". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Alauda gulgula - Avibase". avibase.bsc-eoc.org. Retrieved 2016-12-10. 
  3. ^ "IOC World Bird List 6.4". IOC World Bird List Datasets. doi:10.14344/ioc.ml.6.4. 

External links[edit]