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Oriental Lark

Alauda gulgula (Franklin, 1831)

Индийский жаворонок | Үнді бозторғайы

2009-06-27
Kyzylkol lake, Suzak region, South Kazakhstan oblast
© Andrey Kovalenko

Description

Oriental Skylark is medium-sized lark slightly less than common Sky Lark. Wing is blunt (rounded), wing-tip formed by 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th primaries (first primary is undeveloped, but well notable and not reached to of tips of wing coverts). Tip of 5th primary is not reached to wing tip barely on 2-3 mm. Outer webs of 3rd, 4th and 5th primaries have notches. Inner secondaries are elongated, wings and tail are short. Adult males and females have typical “lark” coloration. Crown, upper-neck, back, uppertail and upperwing are with dark-brownish streaks formed by elongated dark shafts of feathers on head and broader streaks on feathers of mantle and wing coverts. Background formed by pale, grayish buffy tinged edges of feathers. Lores and supercilium are whitish-grey, supercilium is diffused. Ear coverts are grayish-brownish without streaks. Throat is pale whitish-grey. Breast is with slim streaks, denser and larger on flanks. Belly, flanks and undertail are pale grayish-white with slight buffy tone. Underwing coverts are buffy. Primaries are dark-brownish with buffy edges on outer webs, except first five which have whitish ones, 2nd primary have all whitish outer web.Central tail feathers are constricted and have dark-brownish bases and pale tips. Outer pair of tail feathers are almost white with brownish on inner web, second outer pair are brownish with whitish outer web, other tail feathers are dark-brownish. In winter plumage all colors are brighter, grayish edges are broader. Juveniles before first molting are mottled. Sizes: males - wing 89.7-98.5, tail 58.3-66.4, tarsus 20.0-26.5, bill 9.1-13.8 mm; females - wing 87.7-89.2, tail 57.2-65.0, tarsus 23.3-24.0, bill 10.3-10.8 mm. Weight: 24.5-29.2 gr.

Distribution

Oriental Skylark nests in southern Kazakhstan from Eastern Trans-Aral area and the Syrdarya river delta eastward to Karatau foothills near Kyzylkol lake (recorded at 14-15 May 2000), Chulak-Espe and the Kopa river valley (100 km in west from Almaty). Recent years Oriental Skylark was found in Dzhungarskiy Alatau foothills; in western and northern foothills of the Tarbagatay ridge; northern foothills of Saur; Saykan; semi-deserts on southern and western shores of Zaysan lake; and in Kazakh Upland between Karaganda and Karkaralinsk. On migration occurs in the Western Tien Shan foothills and in the Alakol depression.

Biology

Oriental Skylark is rare breeding migrant. It inhabits wet low grass lands often interspersed by patches of needlegrass on or near the lakes and rivers shores; meadows between rice or wheat fields; fallow lands; pastures; and hilly steppes on plains and in foothills up to 500-1500 m. In spring it appears in mid March - early April in flocks of 50-120 birds. Breeds in separate pairs at 150-200m from each other. The nest is built on the ground in shallow under a tussock, and is constructed from dry grass and rootlets and is lined with thin grass, sometimes with hair. A clutch of 3-5 eggs is laid in mid April - early May. Female incubates for 11-12 days and feeds juveniles, male sometimes joins it. Young birds fledge at 9-10 days old, from early May till first half of July. Two broods per season. Sheep often trample nests and repeated breeding attempts are common. Singing males and pairs were observed till the second half of June - first half of July. No data on autumn migration exists.

Subspecies

Alauda gulgula inconspicua (Severtzov, 1873)

References

"Птицы Казахстана" том 3. "Наука". Алма-Ата, 1970. Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999.

supplement

subspecies

Alauda gulgula inconspicua
(Severtzov, 1873)

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Alaudidae

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