Monday, 5 May 2014

Rufous-naped lark

Mirafra africana

Photo by Tarique Sani (Flickr)

Common name:
rufous-naped lark (en); cotovia-de-nuca-vermelha (en); alouette à nuque rousse (fr); alondra nuquirrufa (es); rotnackenlerche (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Alaudidae

This African species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, from Niger and Nigeria to Ethiopia and south to Namibia, Botswana and eastern South Africa.

These birds are 15-18 cm long and weigh 40-55 g.

The rufous-naped lark is mostly found in dry grasslands and savannas, also using dry scrublands such as fynbos. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

They forage on the ground, mainly hunting insects and other invertebrate, including beetles, weevils, stink bugs, caterpillars, grasshoppers, mantids, fly larvae, ants, earthworms, millipedes, spiders and solifugids. They also take some seeds of various grasses and forbs.

Rufous-naped larks can breeds all year round, varying among different parts of their range. the nest is a dome made of dry grasses and lined with fine plant materials, place in a scrape in the ground at the base of a grass tuft or scrub. The female lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated for 14-15 days. The chicks are mainly fed by the female and leave the nest 10-12 days after hatching, before they are able to fly.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as generally common. The population is estimated to be in decline following recorded changes in the species range as it becomes increasingly fragmented in the north of its distribution.

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