|Photo by Durzan Cirano (Trek Nature)|
calandra lark (en); calhandra-real (pt); alouette calandre (fr); calandria común (es); kalanderlerche (de)
Calandra larks are found breeding in around the Mediterranean basin, and further east through Turkey and northern Iran and into southern Russia. The Mediterranean populations are resident, but the birds in Russia migrate south to the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt.
This large lark is 17,5-20 cm long and has a wingspan of 38 cm. They weigh 54-73 g.
They are mostly found in dry open country, including grassland, cereal pseudo-steppe and real steppeland. Although they avoid deserts and semi-deserts, than may be found in more arid areas with scarce vegetation. They are mostly found in lowlands, but may occur up to an altitude of 1400 m.
The calandra lark changes from an essentially insectivorous diet during the breeding season, when they take grasshoppers, caterpillars, spiders and other invertebrates, to a mostly granivorous diet in the autumn and winter, when they forage on numerous seeds and cereals, also eating grass shoots.
They usually start nesting in April. The nest is on the ground often sheltered by some plant, tussock or small bush. The female lays 4-5 greenish eggs, which she incubates alone for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents. They leave the nest after 11-12 days, but will only fly at about 20 days after hatching. Each pair produces two broods per year.
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
With a population of 60-300 million and a very large breeding range, the calandra lark is not threatened at present. Still, the species has suffered some declines, at least in south-west Europe, probably due to pesticide abuse and agricultural intensification.