[order] Passeriformes | [family] Alaudidae | [latin] Eremophila bilopha | [UK] Temmincks Horned Lark | [FR] Alouette bilophe | [DE] Saharaohrenlerche | [ES] Alondra Sahariana | [IT] Allodola di Temminck | [NL] Temminck-strandleeuwerik

Temminck-strandleeuwerik determination

copyright: J. del Hoyo

20% smaller and shorter-tailed than Shore Lark; close in size to Bar-tailed Desert Lark, but less upstanding. Rather small, delicate lark, sharing ‚horns‘ and basic plumage pattern of Shore Lark, but has pale areas of face white, upperparts sandy-pink, and underparts buff-white. Juvenile lacks all facial pattern and shows faint pale spots above. In Levant and across North Africa, may overlap with wandering Shore Lark but most birds of both species usually well divided by altitude and habitat. Temminck‘s Horned Lark essentially a smaller, paler bird adapted to level steppe or desert regions. Adults unmistakable, with slightness, white face, and plumage uniformity obvious. Juvenile much paler than Shore Lark and best distinguished from similarly-coloured desert larks by black-panelled, white-edged tail.

In lower middle latitudes in arid, warm, usually level lowlands, bare or sparsely vegetated, extending from Mediterranean to oceanic climate in Morocco. In north-west Africa, only below 1000 m, whereas Shore Lark lives above 2000 m and is completely separated in habitat. Although occurring on stony plains and deserts, prefers stony plateaux and steppes with solid soil; in sandy areas stays on patches where soil compact, avoiding pure sand.

The Temminck’s Lark or Temminck’s Horned Lark (Eremophila bilopha), breeds across much of north Africa, through northern Saudi Arabia to western Iraq. It is mainly resident, but some populations of this passerine bird are partially migratory, moving further south in winter.

Seeds, and occasional insects and fruits. Feeding flocks in Morocco keep tightly together, and birds seen turning over stones many times their own weight.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km˛. The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as 'common' in at least parts of its range (Snow and Perrins 1998). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Breeding in Algeria: eggs laid April-May. Western Morocco: eggs laid mid-February to April. Jordan: eggs and young found late April and early May. The nest is built on ground in the open, or in shelter of tussock. Nest: shallow depression lined with grass, twigs, and rootlets, with inner lining of soft grass-heads; mud lining with rag and wool also recorded; usually a rampart of small stones. The eggs are sub-elliptical, smooth and glossy; virtually indistinguishable from Shore Lark. Clutch: 2-4. (Incubation and fledging periods not recorded.)

Resident. Some dispersal occurs; this probably at individual rather than population level in North Africa, but may be a more regular feature in Arabia, where winter visitors occur in large flocks south of breeding range.