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Jun 08 2011

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Temmincks Lark (Eremophila bilopha)

Temmincks Lark

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Alaudidae | [latin] Eremophila bilopha | [UK] Temmincks Lark | [FR] Alouette bilophe | [DE] Sahara-Ohrenlerche | [ES] | [NL] Temmincks Strandleeuwerik

Subspecies

Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Spizixos bilopha
Eremophila bilopha
Eremophila bilopha AF n, also Arabian Peninsula

Physical charateristics

20% smaller and shorter-tailed than Shore Lark; close in size to Bar-tailed Desert Lark, but less upstanding. Rather small, delicate lark, sharing ?horns? and basic plumage pattern of Shore Lark, but has pale areas of face white, upperparts sandy-pink, and underparts buff-white. Juvenile lacks all facial pattern and shows faint pale spots above.
In Levant and across North Africa, may overlap with wandering Shore Lark but most birds of both species usually well divided by altitude and habitat. Temminck?s Horned Lark essentially a smaller, paler bird adapted to level steppe or desert regions. Adults unmistakable, with slightness, white face, and plumage uniformity obvious. Juvenile much paler than Shore Lark and best distinguished from similarly-coloured desert larks by black-panelled, white-edged tail.

wingspan min.: 26 cm wingspan max.: 31 cm
size min.: 13 cm size max.: 14 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  

Range

Africa : North, also Arabian Peninsula

Habitat

In lower middle latitudes in arid, warm, usually level lowlands, bare or sparsely vegetated, extending from Mediterranean to oceanic climate in Morocco. In north-west Africa, only below 1000 m, whereas Shore Lark lives above 2000 m and is completely separated in habitat. Although occurring on stony plains and deserts, prefers stony plateaux and steppes with solid soil; in sandy areas stays on patches where soil compact, avoiding pure sand.

Reproduction

Breeding in Algeria: eggs laid April-May. Western Morocco: eggs laid mid-February to April. Jordan: eggs and young found late April and early May. The nest is built on ground in the open, or in shelter of tussock. Nest: shallow depression lined with grass, twigs, and rootlets, with inner lining of soft grass-heads; mud lining with rag and wool also recorded; usually a rampart of small stones. The eggs are sub-elliptical, smooth and glossy; virtually indistinguishable from Shore Lark. Clutch: 2-4. (Incubation and fledging periods not recorded.)

Feeding habits

Seeds, and occasional insects and fruits. Feeding flocks in Morocco keep tightly together, and birds seen turning over stones many times their own weight.

Conservation

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Temmincks Lark status Least Concern

Migration

Resident. Some dispersal occurs; this probably at individual rather than population level in North Africa, but may be a more regular feature in Arabia, where winter visitors occur in large flocks south of breeding range.

Distribution map

Temmincks Lark distribution range map

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