Monday, July 23, 2012

Calandra Lark

Melanocorypha calandra
Meet the Calandra Lark, a bulky member of the Lark family that can be found in different parts of Europe and Asia, depending on the subspecies and time of year. Some of the populations are residents, such as those in Western Europe that live near the Mediterranean year round. Others, like those farther east in Russia, will migrate north and south with the seasons. They live in open grassland habitats where they feed on grasses and seeds.

You can identify a Calandra Lark by its robust size, large bills,  and white throat with large black spot. They are also distinct when viewed from below while flying-- they have dark wings with small white contrasting spots. Males and females look alike, though the female has less pronounced black spots on the throat.

Larks are known for their songs, and this Lark is no exception. In spring the males produce very loud songs that contain both beautiful notes, as well as very harsh ones. They also have the ability to mimic the songs of other birds!

Calandra Larks are monogamous. Pairs build their nests on the ground, but not out in the open. They often seclude themselves with small plants and bushes. 4-5 eggs are laid at a time, and they take 2 weeks to incubate. After hatching, around 20 days go by before the young Larks are able to fly. This quick incubation/fledging period allows the parents to produce two broods per season.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Europe and Asia
Size : Length up to 8in (20cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Passeriformes
Family : Alaudidae -- Genus : Melanocorypha -- Species : M. calandra

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