Rufous songlark

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Rufous songlark
Cincloramphus mathews - Bushells Lagoon.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Locustellidae
Genus: Cincloramphus
C. mathewsi
Binomial name
Cincloramphus mathewsi
Iredale, 1911

Megalurus mathewsi

The rufous songlark (Cincloramphus mathewsi) is a species in the family Locustellidae endemic to Australia.[2][3][4]


It is a species of Megaluridae, the Old World warblers, a successful passerine family.

The rufous songlark was described by English ornithologist Tom Iredale in 1911. An alternative generic name Cincloramphus is derived from Greek words cinclus/κιγκλος "wagtail" and ramphos/ραμφος "beak",[5] while the specific epithet honours Gregory Mathews.

As well as rufous songlark, other common names include red-rumped songlark, rufous singing lark, and skylark.[6][7]


The rufous songlark is medium brown passerine songbird with a pattern of streaks on its feathers.[2] Encyclopædia Britannica describes this bird as "drab and vaguely larklike".[3] It has a dark line through its eye, a pale eyebrow and pale underparts, and a rufous upper tail and rump. A little larger than a house sparrow, the male grows to about 19 cm in length and is larger than the female who reaches only about 16 cm.[2][8][9]

This species is similar to the brown songlark but males of that species are much larger than those of the rufous songlark. Brown songlarks females also lack the rufous rump of the rufous songlark female.[2][10]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Rufous songlark in Victoria

The rufous songlark is common all over mainland Australia, but is uncommon in the northern Top End of the Northern Territory (Goodfellow & Stott, 2001; 2005). and rare on the island of Tasmania. The overall range of the songlark is thought to be in the order of between 1,000,000 and 10,000,000 km2.[11] C. mathewsi is most often found in New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia. Each year the rufous songlark spends colder months in the north and migrates south in the summer to breed, and in this way it typically is only seen in the warmer months.[2][6][8][12]


The rufous songlark hunts close to the ground for the insects and other small arthropods upon which it feeds. The bird can be found in grasslands, grassy open woodlands, agricultural areas, and mulga that it favors as a habitat. Living in areas populated by humans, it sometimes ends up as road kill.[2]

Outside the breeding period these birds form small flocks of up to two dozen individuals. In the breeding season the lively, unmistakable song of the male rufous songlark is heard almost continuously. He chirps and curves his back while going on slow, showy "display flights" between trees. The distinctive "twitchy tweedle" song of the rufous songlark has been included on CDs of "Favourite Australian Birdsong".[8][13] Without help from the male, the female bird builds a deep nest of grass sheltered amid grass or low vegetation. She also incubates the eggs and raises the fledglings herself.[2][3][6][14]

Video file[edit]

Pikedale, S Queensland, Australia


  • Goodfellow, D.L. & Stott, M. (2001; 2005). "Birds of Australia's Top End". Scrubfowl Press.

Serventy, V.N. (ed) 1982. The Wrens and Warblers of Australia. Angus and Robertson and the National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Cincloramphus mathewsi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Rufous Songlark". Birds in backyards. Archived from the original on 30 April 2008. Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  3. ^ a b c "Rufous Songlark". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  4. ^ "BirdLife Species Factsheet (additional data)". BirdLife Species Factsheet. Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  5. ^ Liddell & Scott (1980). Greek-English Lexicon, Abridged Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. ISBN 0-19-910207-4.
  6. ^ a b c "Rufous Songlark". Birdpedia Australia. Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  7. ^ "Rufous Songlark Cincloramphus mathewsi". Mangoverde World Bird Guide. Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  8. ^ a b c "Rufous Songlark". Trevor's Birding. Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Boles, W.E. & D.I. Smedley. 1998. Bird in the Hand: Rufous Songlark Cinclorhamphus mathewsi. Corella 12: 25.
  10. ^ "Brown Songlark, also known as Australian Songlark (Cincloramphus cruralis)". BeautyOfBirds (formerly AvianWeb). Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  11. ^ "Rufous Songlark". BirdLife Species Factsheet. Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  12. ^ Tzaros, Chris; Tadao Shimba; Peter Robertson (2005). Wildlife of the Box-ironbark Country. CSIRO Publishing. ISBN 0-643-09075-4.
  13. ^ "Favourite Australian Birdsong". Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  14. ^ "Sightings: Rufous Songlark (Cincloramphus mathewsi)". Retrieved 21 August 2008.