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White-winged Lark

Melanocorypha leucoptera (Pallas, 1811)

Белокрылый жаворонок | Аққанат бозторғай
adult

2008-05-11
Korgalzhyn village
© Maxim Koshkin

Description

The White-winged Lark is slightly larger than Skylark. The most specific obvious feature of male is chestnut-brown color of crown, ear coverts, uppertail and wing coverts. The underparts are very pale almost all white. The bird on flight shows broad white terminal band on the wing. This band may be faintly appreciable on the light sky background and the wings look narrow and pointed as on Shorebirds. The female is much dimmer, has more typical Lark coloring; but chestnut-brown color is well obvious; and the white wing band is present. Females are slightly less than males. In autumn plumage all birds have on upperparts plumage the buffy-whitish tips which well hide the chestnut color, most appreciable on the wing bent. Juveniles in first plumage look mottled. They are brownish off-white mottles above and off-white dark mottled below; the chestnut color on the wings is not bright but appreciable. Juveniles in autumn plumage are similar the adults. White wing band and chestnut wing band are main species features in all plumage. White on folded wing may be hidden. Weight 36-53 grams, length 17-21, wing 10,3-12,8, wingspan 27-37 cm.

Distribution

The White-winged Lark breeds in steppes of northern half of Kazakhstan; from Volga-Ural area and Aktau mountains in Utva-Ilek territory, Naurzum Reserve and Pavlodar Trans-Irtysh area, in south to northern edge of Volga-Ural sands, Makhambet settlement, large bend of Emba river, Shetpe station on Mangyshlak, northern coast of Aral Sea, Kiik station, Chubartau, Chiliktinskaya valley, the northern part of the Alakol depression and on Arkharly mountains (east of Balkhash lake). One bird recorded in late May near Kolshengel where at least 5 pairs bred in May 2003. It bred in western foothills of Chu-Iliyskiye Mts. at mid-June 2003. One male was seen 25 July 2002 near Ustyurt Reserve. On migration and wintering it occurs throughout in Kazakhstan including southern areas. At Kyzylkol lake two singles in flock of Bimaculated Lark recorded 12-13 September 2002.

Biology

The White-winged Lark is common, in places numerous, resident. Inhabits feather-grass/fescue/grass and wormwood/grass steppe and fallow lands often with scattered bushes. On passage and in winter occurs in open habitat, stubble fields and tracks in flocks of several hundred to a thousand of birds. Arrives at breeding sites in spring, from mid of March to early April. Breeds in separate pairs at distance of 50-150 m one from another. Ground nest located in shallow scrape and built of dry grass and wormwood lined with soft grass. Clutches of 4-6 eggs found from end of April to mid of June. Female incubates for around 12 days, probably aided by male, as brood-patches have been recorded in both sexes. Both parents feed juveniles, which fledge from mid of May to mid of July. Repeated breeding after loss of first nest is common. Most birds migrate to southern areas in September – October; small numbers linger into late November.

References

В.К.Рябицев. "Птицы Урала, Приуралья и Западной Сибири". Екатеринбург, Изд-во Уральского университета, 2000. Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999.

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