Thursday, 15 December 2011

Short-clawed lark

Certhilauda chuana

Photo by Trevor Hardaker (Trevor and Margareth Hardaker)

Common name:
short-clawed lark (en); cotovia-d'unhas-curtas (pt); alouette à ongles courts (fr); alondra chuana (es); akazien-langschnabellerche (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Alaudidae

This African species is only found in south-eastern Botswana and north-eastern South Africa.

These birds are 14-17 cm long and weigh 44 g.

Short-clawed larks are found in dry savannas, preferring semi-arid Acacia savanna with scattered grass clumps and bushes, and large patches of bare ground.

They are strictly insectivorous, taking grasshoppers, weevils, Anoplolepis ants, Hodotermes and Macrotermes termites, and caterpillars.

Short-clawed larks breed in September-March. The nest is built solely by the female, consisting of an open cup built of grass and lined with finer plant material. It is typically placed in a scrape in the ground beneath a grass tuft or small shrub. The female lays 2-3 eggs, which she incubates alone for 14-16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 11-12 days after hatching, but remain with their parents for another 4 weeks.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a restricted breeding range and a global population estimated at 50.000-100.000 individuals. The population seems to be stable in its core breeding areas, in Botswana, but some declines have been reported in South Africa.

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