Lark & Sparrow-Lark (Alaudidae)

Appearance
There are 20 species of Lark and 3 species of Sparrow-Lark found in Kenya.
Larks and Sparrow-Larks vary in size from the Fischer's Sparrow-Lark, at 4.5" (11cm) to the Red-winged Lark, at 9" (23cm).
Larks are very similarly coloured and even the same species can have colour variations. Plumage wear makes matters even more difficult when it comes to identification. All larks have an extended hind claw, assisting them with walking, but so do Pipits. Larks have fatter bills and bodies, helping somewhat.

Habits
Male Larks perform display flights, sing and some species offer food to prospective mates, at breeding time. Sometimes aerial flights are used to defend nesting territory and males can get quite aggressive. Alternatively, Larks fein injury, to draw attention away from the nest. Cup-shaped nests are made on the ground, out of twigs and grass by the female, who also incubates the eggs. Both parents feed the young.

Diet
Larks are omnivourous, foraging on the ground. They eat insects, seeds and other plant matter.

Resident
Larks are seen all over Kenya. Some prefer grassland or savanna, others semi-arid areas. Some Larks never leave an area, while others are nomadic or even migratory, chasing the rains and therefore food availability.

Extra Lark Facts
Larks often moult after mating, providing a fresh plumage. Worn plumage, along with dust-bathing makes abraded birds look uniformly coloured, like the soil of their surrounding.

Photographs
Photographed at Kenya's Nairobi NP and Olare Orok Conservancy.

Fawn-coloured Lark

Fawn-coloured Lark

Fischer's Sparrow-Lark

Fischer's Sparrow-Lark

Rufous-naped Lark

Rufous-naped Lark