Sunday, 13 October 2013

Thekla lark

Galerida theklae

Photo by Marco Valentini (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Thekla lark (en); cotovia-montesina (pt); cochevis de Th├ękla (fr); cogujada montesina (es); Theklalerche (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Alaudidae

Range:
This species is found is found in south-eastern France, Spain and Portugal, and from Western Sahara and Morocco to Libya and north-western Egypt. There is also a disjunct population in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and northern Kenya.

Size:
These birds are 17-19 cm long and have a wingspan of 28-36 cm. They weigh 34-37 g.

Habitat:
Thekla larks are mostly found in dry scrublands and rocky areas, also using dry grasslands, pastures and arable land. They are present at altitudes of 50-3.200 m.

Diet:
They forage on the ground, mainly eating seeds and green plant material. During the breeding season they also eat insects and earthworms.

Breeding:
Thekla larks breed in April-June. The female builds the nest, a small cup made of dry grasses and placed on the ground. There she lays 2-6 light brown eggs with darker blotches, which she incubates alone for 11-17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 15-16 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 9-25 million individuals. The population is declining in Spain, due to habitat loss and degradation, but is believed to be stable elsewhere.

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