Bird Families

Lark bird


Genus: Calandrella Kaup, 1829 = Lesser Larks. The old name of the lesser lark is Calandrella brachydactyla. Subspecies: Calandrella cinerea longipennis Eversmann, 1848 (Calandrella cinerea artemisiae Bankovsky, 1913 Calandrella cinerea orientalis Sushkin, 1925).

The Lesser Lark is a small-sized lark, about the size of a sparrow, which is why it is called the Lesser Lark. The body length reaches only 160 mm, with a mass of about 20 grams. In general, it is sleeker and smaller than other members of the Lark family. The coloration of the lark-type lark, although less variegated. The top of its body has a brownish color of feathers with dark longitudinal streaks, and the eyebrow, underside of the body and stripes on the sides of the tail are ocher-white. The Lesser Lark has a chest without streaks, but on the sides of the chest there are dark (brown) spots, clearly visible only at a short distance. Males and females are practically indistinguishable in appearance, although in the male the dark spots on the sides of the chest are more pronounced.

In Kazakhstan, the lesser lark is one of the most numerous larks. But in the Krasnoyarsk Territory it is mostly a rare bird, although in some places in the steppes of the Minusinsk Basin it is a common one. The Lesser Lark is also found here and there in the forest-steppe: here is the northern border of its range. In the area between the Yenisei and Abakan rivers, where the Koibalskaya steppe is located, the Lesser Lark is a common nesting species with a population density of up to 10 individuals / km2. It is quite numerous in the Shirinskaya steppe near Solenoozernoye, as well as in the Iuss forest-steppe, where it adheres to young forest plantations and shrub strips.

The Lesser Lark nests and occurs on migration in most of the lowland Kazakhstan, going north to Kustanai, Lake. Selety-Tengiz, and in the Pavlodar Trans-Irtysh region to lakes Zhamantuz and Svetlitsa. It was noted for nesting in the Abakan steppe and near Minusinsk, as well as in the steppes along the river. Abakan and in Khakassia along the river basin. Chulym. Single individuals were found in the summer 180 km northeast of Kustanai, and in Southern Altai, on the lake. Markakol, on the outskirts of Krasnoyarsk.

The Lesser Lark is a migratory species that usually arrives at nesting sites in March, and departs in September-October. The Lesser Lark hibernates to the south, starting in the southern regions of Turkmenistan. Lesser Larks love hilly terrain, which alternates with bald patches and rocky placers. But they avoid thickets of tall grass, even if it is rare. They also do not settle on the cultivated land.

The Lesser Lark usually sings while in the air, jerking upward. His song is a set of short chirps that can be rendered as: "vitti-vitti, vit-ti, tirri-ti-ti-ti". The basis of its nutrition, like other larks, is made up of various seeds of herbaceous plants, as well as all kinds of insects and their larvae.

The female builds the nest on the ground. in a hole, under a bush of wormwood or cereals. Usually she tries to find a natural hole, which is located somewhere under a bunch of grass, and most often it is a low bush of wormwood. The female, if necessary, can dig a hole of the required size herself. The material for building the nest is dry grass, and the little larks itself lining the tray with plant fluff and various thin fibers, as well as disheveled grass blades, soft panicles of cereals. Upon completion of construction, the construction of a rather loose structure is obtained. Often the outside of the nest is lined with lumps of earth and manure. In a fully completed clutch, there are usually 4-5 whitish or pinkish-brown eggs, on the surface of which brown spots are scattered.

Lark - a harbinger of spring

Lark - one of the most famous singing representatives of birds. He pleases five continents with spring trills. A space object is named in his honor: the asteroid Alauda (translated from Latin: lark).

Common lark

Description and features

Larks are small birds 12 to 24 centimeters long, weighing 15 to 75 grams. The wings are wide, their span reaches 30-36 centimeters. Birds feel great in the sky: they demonstrate fast and well-controlled flight.

Like many land birds, most species of larks have a toe that looks back and ends in a long claw. This foot design is believed to provide stability when moving on the ground. These birds move on the ground very quickly.

The color of the plumage is not bright, but rather variegated. The main range is gray-brown with light streaks. Such an outfit allows you to successfully camouflage, moving along the ground. Being in the nest, the bird completely merges with the environment.

Lesser skylark

There are birds that have a color significantly different from the usual one - this black larks... This species belongs to the genus of steppe larks. The color corresponds to the name: the bird is almost black. With a light border on the wings. This is reflected in the popular names: chernysh, black starling, karaturgai (black lark, in Kazakh).

Birds molt once a year, after the end of the nesting period. Chicks completely molt in the fall after leaving the nest. They shed a brighter outfit, become indistinguishable from adult birds.

Crested lark

Adults feed mainly on seeds, chicks are fed with protein food, that is, insects. Birds' beaks are slightly curved, well adapted for seed flaking and digging in the ground when looking for insects. There is no gender difference in size and proportion, and is poorly expressed in color.

Larks were included in the biological classifier in 1825 by the Irish biologist Nicholas Wigors (1785-1840). They were first identified as the finches subfamily. But later they were singled out into an independent family Alaudidae. The main feature of this family is the foot construction. There are several horny plates on the tarsus, while other songbirds have only one.

White-winged Steppe Lark

Larks have formed a large family. It contains 21 genera and approximately 98 species. The most common genus is the field lark. He entered the classifier under the name Alauda Linnaeus. It includes 4 types.

  • Common lark - Alauda arvensis. This is a nominative species. It can be found in Eurasia, right up to the Arctic Circle. Found in northern Africa. Penetrated into North America, Australia, Oceania and New Zealand.
  • Small lark or an oriental lark. System name: Alauda gulgula. Sighted in the Barnaul steppes, in Kazakhstan, Central Asian countries, in the southeast of Asia, on the island territories of the Pacific Ocean.
  • White-winged steppe lark, Siberian lark - Alauda leucoptera. This species is widespread in the south of Russia, in the Caucasus, and reaches northern Iran.
  • Lark of Razo Island - Alauda razae. Least researched bird. It inhabits only one of the Cape Verde Islands: Razo Island. Described and included in the biological system at the end of the 19th century (in 1898).

Razo Lark (endemic)

In addition to the field, several genera got their names from their propensity to live in a particular landscape.

  • Steppe larks, or jurbay - Melanocorypha. Five species are included in this genus. They live in the southern regions of Russia, in the plains of the Central Asian republics, in the Caucasus, in Europe in the south of France and the Balkans, in the Maghreb.
  • Forest Larks - Lullula - are birds that have changed the steppes and fields and moved to the forest edges and woodlands. Their nesting sites are located in Europe, in the southwest of Asia, in the north of Africa.
  • Shrub Larks - Mirafra. Scientists have not fully decided on the composition of this kind. According to various sources, it includes 24-28 species. The main area is the savannas of Africa, the steppes in the southwest of Asia.

Steppe Lark Jurbay

The appearance of various types of larks is similar. Differences in size and color are small. But there are birds whose name has determined the features of their appearance.

  • Lesser Larks - Calandrella. This genus includes 6 species. The name fully characterizes the peculiarity of this bird - they are the smallest of all larks. The weight of an individual does not exceed 20 grams.
  • Horned Larks - Eremophila. Only 2 species are included in this genus. On the head, "horns" were formed from feathers. Lark in the photo thanks to the “horns” it takes on an almost demonic appearance. The only genus of larks whose nesting area reaches the tundra.
  • Passerine Larks, system name: Eremopterix. It is a large genus containing 8 species.
  • Crested Larks - Galerida. All birds belonging to this genus are characterized by a strong curved beak and a pronounced crest on the head.
  • Longspur Larks - Heteromirafra. Only 2 species are included in this genus. They are characterized by elongated toes. Both species live in southern Africa in a very limited range.
  • Thick-billed larks - Ramphocoris. Monotypic genus. Contains 1 species. The bird has a shortened strong beak. They prefer to settle in the desert regions of North Africa and Arabia.

Tall african lark

Lifestyle and habitat

Favorite habitat: steppe regions, fields with low grass, agricultural land. As forests are deforested and new arable fields are created, the area expands.

The only species associated with the forest is wood lark... He settled in open woodlands, forest clearings, forest edges, glades, warmed by the sun. This bird avoids forest thickets, massifs overgrown with tall trees.

Horned lazaron

What bird is the lark: migratory or wintering? Most birds are characterized by seasonal migration, relocation from wintering grounds to their homeland, but some populations nest in rather warm regions. They refuse to fly. This happens in the southern Caucasus, southern Europe.

The statement that lark bird migratory, valid for the entire family as a whole. It is formulated from populations that breed in areas with harsh winters. With the onset of autumn cold weather, all birds nesting north of (approximately) fiftieth latitude, get up on the wing and in flocks of medium size go to the Mediterranean Sea, to northern Africa, to Central Asia.

In early spring, flocks of songbirds return from wintering grounds. The arrival of larks among many peoples in Europe, including Russia, is so closely associated with spring that buns called larks are baked in March. These are simple culinary products that vaguely resemble birds with raisins instead of eyes.

Longspore lark

Upon returning to the nesting sites, the males begin to sing, the mating season begins for the birds. Lark songs can be described as a continuous series of melodic and full-sounding trills. Larks often demonstrate their ability to imitate other birds. Larks sing in flight and from the ground.

The most spectacular is the vertical flight accompanied by singing. Having reached a height of 100-300 meters, the lark hovers for a few minutes. Then, gradually, without interrupting the singing, it descends. Or, having fallen silent, it descends, almost falls, to the ground.

This bird has many enemies. Especially during the breeding period. Hedgehogs, snakes, small and medium-sized predators are ready to destroy the nest, the only protection of which is camouflage. For adults, birds of prey are very dangerous. Sparrowhawks, harriers, hobbyists, and other falconry grab larks on the fly.

Thick-billed lark

Lark - songbird... Therefore, they have long been trying to keep her in captivity. But fearfulness and nondescriptness have led to the fact that in our country you can hear a lark only in nature.

The Chinese are fond of keeping birds in cages. They have accumulated a lot of experience not only in keeping, but also in holding songbird competitions. Of all the species, the Mongolian lark is more common in Chinese homes.


Insects and grains are the staple of a lark's diet. Food is obtained by pecking insects and grains from the ground or from plants, from the height of their own growth. Various beetles are used. In addition to coleoptera, larks do not disdain Orthoptera, wingless.

That is, everyone who can be caught up with whom their beak and muscular stomach can handle. Since food is obtained only on foot, the lark gets grains that are already fallen or low-growing. Unfortunately, these little songbirds are food themselves.

Not just for predators. In the south of France, in Italy, in Cyprus, delicious dishes are traditionally prepared from them. They are stewed, fried, used as a filling in meat pies. Lark tongues are considered an exquisite treat worthy of crowned persons. This is the fate not only of larks, but of many migratory birds.

Reproduction and life expectancy

Larks pair up in early spring. After that, the males are engaged in morning singing. This is part of the marriage ritual. Demonstration of one's own attractiveness and designation of the nesting territory, the inviolability of which is strictly monitored.

Wood lark nest

Bird pairs settle rather close to each other. One hectare can have 1-3 nests. Therefore, the reasons for clashes appear constantly. The fighting is pretty fierce. There are no rules or spectacular dueling actions. Sheer confusion, as a result of which the trespasser retreats. Nobody gets any significant injuries.

Females are looking for a place to nest. Lark's nest - this is a depression in the ground, a hole in a shaded and hidden place. The bowl-shaped bottom of the nest is laid out with dry grass, feathers and horsehair. When the nest is ready, mating occurs.

In a clutch, there are usually 4-7 small eggs of brown or yellow-green color, covered with spots of various shades. Females are engaged in incubation. Masking is the main way to preserve the nest. Birds fly away or run away only when they clearly show themselves. After eliminating the hazard, they return to the nest.

If the clutch dies due to the actions of humans or predators, eggs are laid again. After 12-15 days, blind, down-covered chicks appear. Their parents actively feed them with insects. They grow and develop very quickly. After 7-8 days, they can leave the nest for a short time, after 13-14 days they begin to try themselves in flight.

At the age of one month, the chicks begin to feed on their own. There is a transition from protein to vegetable nutrition, insects are replaced by grains. At the same time, the first complete molt occurs. The feathery outfit becomes the same as that of adult birds.

Chicks and female forest lark

The rapid development of chicks is a natural way to preserve the population. For the same reason, larks instead of the lost ones make new clutches, and are not limited to one brood. During the season, a family of larks can make 2-3 clutches and successfully raise offspring.

Larks have a short life: 5-6 years. Ornithologists claim that when kept in an aviary, they can safely survive for 10 years. The Lark has found its prominent place in legends, myths and literary works. He always acts as a harbinger of a new life.

Abstract of a scientific article on biological sciences, the author of the scientific work is Nikolai Nikolaevich Berezovikov, Anatoly Fedorovich Kovshar

Second edition. First publication: Berezovikov N.N., Kovshar A.F. 1994. To the ecology of the lark in the south-east of Kazakhstan // Rare and poorly studied birds of Uzbekistan and adjacent territories. Materials of the 4th republ. ornithol. conf. Tashkent: 12-14.

Text of the scientific work on the topic "To the ecology of the lark Calandrella brachydactyla longipennis in the south-east of Kazakhstan"

Boldbaatar Sh., Bukreev S.A., Zvonov B.M. 2013. Birds of the Ubsu-Nur Lake Basin and Factors Affecting Their Habitat Conditions // Modern Problems of Ornithology of Siberia and Central Asia: Proceedings of the 5th International. ornithol. conf. Ulan-Ude: 7-24.

Zabelin V.I. 2015. Evolution of natural conditions and bird fauna of the Altai-Sayan mountainous region. Kyzyl: 1-227. Sushkin P.P. 1914. Birds of the Minusinsk Territory, Western Sayan and Uryankhai Land // Materials for the knowledge of the fauna and flora of the Russian Empire. Dept. zool. 13: 1-551.

Russian Ornithological Journal 2016, Volume 25, Express issue 1376: 4793-4795

To the ecology of the Lesser Lark Calandrella brachydactyla longipennis in the southeast of Kazakhstan

Second edition. First published in 1994 *

The nest ecology of the Lesser Lark Calandrella brachydactyla longipennis Eversmann 1848 was studied on March 22 - June 29, 1987 and March 23 - July 5, 1982 in the vicinity of the Kopa railway station, 100 km west of Almaty, where 23 nests of this subspecies were examined.

Along with the steppe lark Melanocorypha calandra, the lesser lark is one of the most numerous birds of the wormwood loamy semi-desert and the saline sarsazan floodplain of the Kopa River in areas with intensive grazing. In smaller numbers than the steppe lark, it lives on crops of barley and forage grasses, individual pairs are found on unseeded arable land with many tumbleweed balls driven by the wind. In the neighboring Chu-Ili mountains, it is relatively often found in hilly-ridged terrain with gravelly hills and cereal valleys, as well as along ridge and plateaus, lushly overgrown with wormwood.

In the southeast of Kazakhstan, the Lesser Lark appears in the first half of March (Korelov 1970). In the third decade of March 1987 and 1988, in the valley of the Kopa River, where there was no longer any snow and the wormwood began to turn green, a pronounced flight was observed in flocks of 5-25 individuals, which lasted until April 5-10. Already at the end of March - beginning of April, males actively sang and talked. First nests with full

* Berezovikov N.N., Kovshar A.F. 1994. To the ecology of the lark in the south-east of Kazakhstan // Rare and poorly studied birds of Uzbekistan and adjacent territories. Materials of the 4th republ. ornithol. conf. Tashkent: 12-14.

clutches of 3 and 4 eggs were found on 15 and 18 April. In most pairs, clutches appear between April 20 and May 10 (64% of those found). The latest clutches were found on May 31 (3 and 4 eggs), June 3 and 13 (4 and 4). Size of 20 clutches: 3 eggs - 5 nests, 4 eggs - 14, 5 eggs - 1, on average 3.8 eggs. Dimensions of 30 eggs out of 9 clutches: 17.8-22.9x13.7-15.6, average 19.9x14.6 mm. Weight of 12 eggs from 3 clutches: 1.92-2.56, on average 2.16 g. Color of 23 eggs: whitish (7), with a slight greenish tint (8), greenish (4), bluish-greenish (4), with brownish specks throughout background with a wide "rim" (15) or "cap" (8) at the blunt end.

Of the 23 nests, 21 were found in the wormwood clay-solonetzic semidesert and 2 nests were found on wheatgrass crops. Of these, 17 nests were found under wormwood bushes (73.9%), 2 were discovered among wormwood seedlings, 1 in an ebelek bush, 1 in a wheat grass clump, 1 under a hummock, and 1 in a furrow notch. Of 17 nests, 7 had a northern orientation. , 7 - northeastern and 3 - northwestern.

Nests are arranged in pits 80-101x100-118 in diameter, 88.3-113.3 mm in average and 65-70 in depth, 67 mm on average. Dimensions of 20 nests, mm: outer diameter 65-100x65-120 (average 85.9x95.9), inner diameter 45-62x50-78 (56.8x59.6), nest height 46-80 (60.3), tray depth 25-55 (40.9).

Nests of the suite of wormwood stems and roots lined with wool (10), soft stalks of cereals and plant fluff (5 cases). Some of them were lined only with grains (2), grains, plant fluff and wool (1), wool and shredded paper (1). In one nest, feathers were used as an additional material, in two, pieces of skins of a snake and of a multicolored lizard Erbtav aiguba were used. It is characteristic that the plant walls of all nests were very dense, as if glued together, and often smoothly wiped from the inside. The mass of the two weighed nests is 7.5 and 13.3 g. In front of the entrance, two nests have a roller made of lumps of clay, in one of the coarse plant stems and rhizomes up to 5.5 cm long and up to 0.5 cm thick.

In one of the nests on May 10, 1988, from 7 am to 11 am, the female heated the clutch for 172 min (71.7%). The duration of a single incubation is 11-67, on average 21 minutes. During this period, she left the clutch 8 times for a total of 68 min (28.3%). In another nest, the adults brought food 41 times to the chicks in 4 morning hours.

The first hatched chicks were found on May 6 and 15, and nests with 4 and 3 chicks in “stumps” were found on May 4 and 9. Buffy down, 5-7 mm long, is located on 6 main down pterilia: supraorbital, occipital, shoulder, dorsal, ulnar and femoral (14 chicks). Of these, a single rudimentary pubescence was found in 5 chicks on the ventral and in 3 on the coccygeal pterilia.

The first fledglings were found on May 6, 1988 (weight 13.4 g, wing length 34 mm, tail length 7 mm). Fledglings appeared in large numbers on 19-24 May, singly observed on 11 and 14 June. Chick supplementation was noted until July 2, 1988.

Of all the larks nesting in the desert valley of the Kopa River, the greatest loss of nests was recorded for the lark. So, from 14 nests with a traced fate, chicks emerged only in 4 (28.6%). The remaining 10 nests died, 7 of them with clutches and one with chicks were ravaged by ground predators and snakes, one nest with eggs was trampled by sheep and another one with started laying was abandoned for unclear reasons.

M.N. Korelov 1970. Family Larks - Alaudidae // Birds of Kazakhstan. Alma-Ata, 3: 194-285.

Russian Ornithological Journal 2016, Volume 25, Express issue 1376: 4795-4797

Materials on nesting of some rare species of birds of the Tien Shan (Kyrgyzstan)

Second edition. First published in 1994 *

Part of the zoological collection collected by Georgy Vasilyevich Verdin on the territory of Central Asia from 1953 to 1993 and processed by V.I. Toropova was used in this work.

Whooper swan Cygnus cygnus. A nest with 6 eggs was found on May 8, 1975 on the Son-Kul lake, here in July 1977 a clutch with 6 eggs was taken.

Serpentine Circaetus gachcus. A nest with 1 hatched egg was found on April 12, 1975 on a steep slope near the upper border of a walnut forest in the Kirov forestry enterprise of the Jalal-Abad oblast; here on April 25, 1984, a nest with 1 egg was found. Another nest with 1 egg was found in a rocky mountain desert near the village of Oygulen, Rybachensky district, Issyk-Kul region. Nest with 1 egg was found on April 19, 1983 in the vicinity of Arslan-Bob village on the southern slope of the Fergana ridge (Jalal-Abad oblast). Laying with 1

* Verdin G.V., Toropova V.I. 1994. Materials on nesting of some rare species of birds of the Tien Shan // Rare and little-studied birds of Uzbekistan and adjacent territories. Materials of the 4th republ. ornithol. conf. Tashkent: 16-17.

Birds 3: L'Alouette Calandrelle

The beginning is in the previous two recordings, and now the eighth piece from "Catalog of birds" Messiaen:

VIII. L'Alouette Calandrelle (Calandrella brachydactyla [C.cinerea]) - Lesser Lark

Provence in July: Lesser Lark. 2 pm, les Baux, les Alpilles, withered stones, broom and cypress trees. Monotonous percussion of cicadas, alarm in kestrel staccato. The road to Entressen: the crested lark in two-part counterpoint with the lesser lark. 4 pm, la Crau. Rocky desert, scorching sun, heat. The lonely short phrase of the little lark breaks the silence. 6 pm, a skylark rises into the sky and sings a jubilant stanza. Amphimacrus quail, remembrance of the little lark.

Characters (excluding cicadas):
Alouette Calandrelle (Calandrella brachydactyla [C.cinerea]) - Lesser lark,
Faucon Cr cerelle (Falco tinnunculus) - Common kestrel,
Caille (Coturnix coturnix) - Quail,
Cochevis hupp (Galerida cristata) - Crested lark,
Alouette des champs (Alauda arvensis) - Lark.

Chapters about larks from the book "Songbirds" by G.N.Simkin:
there is no little about it, but there is about larks in general and especially about the field, forest and crested.

Lesser lark: Surprisingly, it looks like it turned out in Messiaen. In nature, I did not hear it, because although it is found in our country, it is rare. However, the recording, as far as I can tell, gives a fairly clear general idea of ​​his singing. And so, when I, after listening to the voice recording, began to listen to the play, I recognized him immediately. And even more than that, gradually there was a feeling that happens when you watch a film in a foreign language with Russian captions, and especially when you later recall what you watched - it seems as if the artists spoke Russian. So here, when I listened to this play, it sometimes seemed to me as if I was hearing a real song of a little lark. Moreover, of course, there is no question of any exact literal reproduction. But the impression is quite convincing. That's really, really, impressionism, yes. The general form, rhythm are outlined with a few precise lines, some characteristic intonations are conventionally indicated - and the result is achieved.

Kestrel: But here there is no such effect. Stacatto and stacatto. And there is nothing in it, to my ears, in which one could recognize, even if not a kestrel, but at least the scream of a bird of prey in general. Probably because the timbre and some other subtle characteristics of the sound signal, which are practically not reproduced by piano means, are especially important here. However, in this play the kestrel is still a secondary character, an element of the overall soundscape. Messiaen, obviously, did not strive for its great detail.

Quail: He, of course, was already presented in music before Messiaen. Beethoven, for example, in the Pastoral, there he also has a nightingale with a cuckoo, and he took them from the treatise "Musurgia universalis" by Kirchner. The rhythm of the quail's cry is not difficult to perceive. Amphimacrus, yes. But Messiaen did something quite different. The quail screams quickly, sharply and confidently, and in the messianic version there is none of this. Or is it only in the interpretation of Loriod so, sorry, I only have her performance.

Crested lark: It is clear that his duet with the little lark is one of the most complex and beautiful episodes of the play. But I find it difficult to single out in this intricate musical fabric something characteristic of the crested lark. However, I'm not sure that in nature in a similar situation I could recognize him.

Lark: And here something characteristic, perhaps, is caught. At least at the most general level. Such an endless, continuous, energetic stream of long, constantly changing melodic trills and other complex repetitive turns.