Blackcrowned sparrowlark

Eremopterix nigriceps

TAXONOMY

Pyrrhalauda nigriceps Gould, 1841, Sao Tiago, Cape Verde Islands.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Black-crowned finch-lark, pallid finch-lark; French: Moinelette a frout-blanc; German: Weifistirnlerche; Spanish: Aloudra gottion de Corouna Negra.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

4.5-4.9 in (11.5-12.5 cm); male 0.5-0.6 oz (14-16 g); female 0.4 oz (12 g); one of the smallest lark species. Sparrow-larks, like finches or sparrows, have a proportionally large head and a strong conical bill. Sexes are dimorphic with respect to plumage color. Female mainly pale brown and streaked, male with white forehead, cheeks, sides of neck, and collar of nape. Crown, stripe through eye to base of bill, and lower border of cheek black. Underparts entirely black, upperparts grayish brown.

DISTRIBUTION

Cape Verde Islands, southern Morocco, northern Mauritania to western Sahara, southeast Egypt. From North Africa, through most of the Arabian Peninsula, including Island of Sokrota, to Pakistan and northwestern India. Expanded its area to northern Nigeria, possibly due to desertification. Vagrant to Israel, Jordan, and Algeria.

HABITAT

Semidesert and sandy areas with sparse vegetation, also close to cultivated land.

BEHAVIOR

Territorial during breeding season, gregarious other times. In song-flight, male ascends at a 45° angle with legs dangling up to 66 ft (20 m), then flies in roughly circular paths in an undulating style to descend in stages. Song also performed from elevated perch.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds more on seeds than arthropods; de-husks seeds; can drink salty or brackish water.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous. Female builds cup-shaped nest, male may also be involved in nest-building. Rim of nest frequently surrounded by small lumps of soil or stone. Breeding period irregular; two to three eggs laid, incubated by both sexes for 11-12 days. Both parents feed and brood. Young leave nest after eight days before being able to fly. Each parent cares for one single chick, so that only two young per brood can be reared (split brood-care).

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment