White-winged lark

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White-winged lark
Melanocorypha leucoptera2.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Alaudidae
Genus: Melanocorypha
Species: M. leucoptera
Binomial name
Melanocorypha leucoptera
(Pallas, 1811)

The white-winged lark (Melanocorypha leucoptera) is a species of lark found in central Asia, from the Caucasus east across temperate southern Asia and Kazakhstan. The current scientific name is from Ancient Greek. Melanocorypha is from melas, "black", and koruphos a term used by ancient writers for a now unknown bird, but here confused with korudos, "lark", and the specific leucoptera means "white-winged", from leukos, "white", and pteron, "wing".[2]

It is partially migratory, with birds tending to move south in winter. The southernmost birds are mainly resident. It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.


This lark is large and robust, usually 17–19 cm in length, with a wingspan of 35 cm. Both sexes weigh about 44 g. In flight, it is unmistakable due to its striking wing pattern: black outer flight feathers, white inner flight feathers, and the rest of the wing chestnut. Its body is dark-streaked grey above and whitish below. The adult male has a chestnut crown, but the sexes are otherwise similar.


The white-winged lark lives in dry, open steppe and plains. It nests on the ground, laying three to eight eggs per clutch. Its diet consists of seeds, and insects during the breeding season. It is gregarious during the winter.


Its song is a more melodious version of the skylark's.


Habitat destruction due to ploughing is one of the main threats to the white-winged lark. Although its population has declined significantly, it is still relatively common, and is not considered to be at risk.[1]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Melanocorypha leucoptera". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 225, 247. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4. 

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