Calandra lark

The calandra lark (Melanocorypha calandra) or European calandra-lark breeds in warm temperate countries around the Mediterranean and eastwards through Turkey into northern Iran and southern Russia. It is replaced further east by its relative, the bimaculated lark.

Calandra lark
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Alaudidae
Genus: Melanocorypha
M. calandra
Binomial name
Melanocorypha calandra
(Linnaeus, 1766)
  • Alauda calandra Linnaeus, 1766
Melanocorypha calandra MHNT 232 Moulares Tunisie
Eggs of Melanocorypha calandra MHNT

Taxonomy and systematics

The calandra lark was originally placed in the genus Alauda.[2] The current genus name, Melanocorypha is from Ancient Greek melas, "black", and koruphos a term used by ancient writers for a now unknown bird, but here confused with korudos, "lark". "Calandra"' derives ultimately from kalandros the Ancient Greek name for this bird.[3][4] The bimaculated lark is also sometimes termed as the calandra lark.[5]


Four subspecies are recognized:[6]

  • Western calandra lark (M. c. calandra) - (Linnaeus, 1766): Found in southern Europe and north-western Africa to Turkey (except south-central and south-eastern Turkey), Transcaucasia and north-western Iran
  • Eastern calandra lark (M. c. psammochroa) - Hartert, 1904: Found from northern Iraq and northern Iran to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan
  • M. c. gaza - Meinertzhagen, R, 1919: Originally described as a subspecies of the bimaculated lark. Found from eastern Syria and south-eastern Turkey to south-western Iran
  • Levant calandra lark (M. c. hebraica) - Meinertzhagen, R, 1920: Found from south-central Turkey and north-western Syria to Israel and western Jordan


This is a large, robust lark, 17.5–20 cm long. It is an undistinguished-looking species on the ground, mainly streaked greyish brown above and white below, and with large black patches on the breast sides. It has a white supercilium.

In flight it shows short broad wings, which are dark below, and a short white-edged tail. The wing and tail patterns are distinctions from its more easterly relatives.

The song is like a slower version of that of the skylark.

Distribution and habitat

It is mainly resident in the west of its range, but Russian populations of this passerine bird are more migratory, moving further south in winter, as far as the Arabian peninsula and Egypt. It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.

This is a bird of open cultivation and steppe. Its nest is on the ground, with 4–5 eggs being laid. Food is seeds supplemented with insects in the breeding season. It is gregarious outside the breeding season.

Behaviour and ecology

Parasites of the calandra lark include the chewing louse Ricinus vaderi, described from specimens collected in Azerbaijan.[7]

In culture

The song is considered so musical to human ears that the calandra lark was formerly a popular cagebird in its range.[8] It is mentioned in, for instance, the Tuscan proverb "Canta come una calandra", he or she sings like a lark,[9] and the Spanish ballad "Romance del prisionero", where its song is the only way the prisoner knows when day breaks.[10]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Melanocorypha calandra". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Melanocorypha calandra - Avibase". Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  3. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 84, 247. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  4. ^ "Calandra". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ "Melanocorypha bimaculata - Avibase". Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  6. ^ "IOC World Bird List 6.4". IOC World Bird List Datasets. doi:10.14344/
  7. ^ Valan, Miroslav; Sychra, Oldrich; Literak, Ivan (2016). "Chewing lice of genus Ricinus (Phthiraptera, Ricinidae) deposited at the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint Petersburg, Russia, with description of a new species". Parasite. 23: 7. doi:10.1051/parasite/2016007. ISSN 1776-1042. PMC 4763114. PMID 26902646. open access
  8. ^ Kikkawa, Jiro (2003). "Larks". In Perrins, Christopher (ed.). Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds. Firefly Books. pp. 578–583. ISBN 1-55297-777-3.
  9. ^ Giusti, Giuseppe (1853). Raccolta di proverbi toscani. F. Monnier. p. 364. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
  10. ^ Stanley, ed. (2004). Spanish Traditional Ballads/Romances Viejos Españoles. Translated by Applebaum. Courier Dover Publications. pp. 214–215. ISBN 0-486-42694-7. Retrieved 2008-06-21.

External links

1996 in birding and ornithology

See also 1995 in birding and ornithology, main events of 1996 and 1997 in birding and ornithology


Alauda is a genus of larks found across much of Europe, Asia and in the mountains of north Africa, and one of the species (the Raso lark) endemic to the islet of Raso in the Cape Verde Islands. Further, at least two additional species are known from the fossil record. The current genus name is from Latin alauda, "lark". Pliny the Elder thought the word was originally of Celtic origin.

Angolan lark

The Angolan lark (Mirafra angolensis) or Angolan bushlark is a species of lark in the family Alaudidae found in southern and central Africa.

Ash's lark

Ash's lark (Mirafra ashi) or Ash's bushlark is a species of lark in the family Alaudidae endemic to Somalia.

Beesley's lark

Beesley's lark (Chersomanes beesleyi) is a species of lark in the family Alaudidae. It was formerly considered to be a subspecies of the spike-heeled lark.It is found north-eastern Tanzania. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry shrubland and subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland.

Bimaculated lark

The bimaculated lark (Melanocorypha bimaculata) breeds in warm temperate countries eastwards from Turkey into central Asia. It is the eastern counterpart of its relative, the calandra lark.


Calandra may refer to:

8967 Calandra, a main belt asteroid

Calandra (beetle), a genus of weevils

Calandra lark, a birdPeopleDavide Calandra, an Italian sculptor and cabinet maker

Giovanni Battista Calandra, an Italian mosaic artist

John D. Calandra, a New York State senator

John paul Calandra, a New york city artist

Paul Calandra, a Canadian politician

Peter Calandra, an American composer and pianist

Saúl Calandra, an Argentine football (soccer) midfielder

Thom Calandra, the founding editor and chief columnist for CBS


Calandrella is a genus of larks in the Alaudidae family.


Calandria may refer to:

Calandria (nuclear reactor), a tank which is the reactor core of the CANDU reactor

Heating equipment used during brewing

Plural form for the calandra lark, a bird species

A thermosyphon reboiler

A shell and tube heat exchanger

A comedy of the Italian Renaissance

Corn bunting

The corn bunting (Emberiza calandra) is a passerine bird in the bunting family Emberizidae, a group now separated by most modern authors from the finches, Fringillidae. It is usually placed in the genus Emberiza, but some taxonomists place it in the monotypic genus Miliaria. The genus name Emberiza is from Old German Embritz, a bunting. The specific calandra is from Ancient Greek kalandros, the calandra lark.

Greater short-toed lark

The greater short-toed lark (Calandrella brachydactyla) is a small passerine bird. The current scientific name is from Ancient Greek. The genus name, Calandrella, is a diminutive of kalandros, the calandra lark, and brachydactila is from brakhus, "short", and daktulos, "toe".It breeds in southern Europe, north-west Africa, and across temperate Asia from Turkey and southern Russia to Mongolia. During migration they form large, tight flocks that move in unison; at other times they form loose flocks.


Larks are passerine birds of the family Alaudidae. Larks have a cosmopolitan distribution with the largest number of species occurring in Africa. Only a single species, the horned lark, occurs in North America, and only Horsfield's bush lark occurs in Australia. Habitats vary widely, but many species live in dry regions.

List of lark species

Larks form the family Alaudidae. The International Ornithological Congress (IOC) recognizes these 98 species of larks distributed among 31 genera.This list is presented according to the IOC taxonomic sequence and can also be sorted alphabetically by common name and binomial.


Melanocorypha is a small genus of birds in the lark family. The current genus name, Melanocorypha is from Ancient Greek melas, "black", and koruphos a term used by ancient writer for a now unknown bird, but here confused with korudos, "lark".

Ricinus vaderi

Ricinus vaderi is a species of chewing lice which parasitises the calandra lark (Melanocorypha calandra) in Azerbaijan. It is a member of Ricinus, the largest genus of chewing lice found parasitizing Passeriformes.The species name is derived from Darth Vader, a fictional character in the Star Wars series. According to Miroslav Valan, Oldrich Sychra and Ivan Literak, the first author’s fiancée noticed a similarity between the head of the R. vaderi and Darth Vader’s helmet.

Short-clawed lark

The short-clawed lark (Certhilauda chuana), or short-clawed bush-lark, is a species of lark in the family Alaudidae. It is found in Botswana and South Africa. Its natural habitat is dry savannah.

Tibetan lark

The Tibetan lark (Melanocorypha maxima) is a species of lark in the family Alaudidae found on the Tibetan plateau from north-western India to central China. Alternate names for this species include the Asiatic lark, long-billed calandra lark and long-billed lark.

Veliko Blato (ornithological reserve)

Veliko Blato is an ornithological reserve on the Croatian island of Pag.

Wildlife of Ladakh

The flora and fauna of [Ladakh] was first studied by [Ferdinand Stoliczka], an [Austria]n[Czech people|Czech][palaeontologist], who carried out a massive expedition in the region in the 1870s. The fauna of Ladakh have much in common with that of Central Asia generally, and especially those of the Tibetan Plateau. An exception to this are the birds, many of which migrate from the warmer parts of India to spend the summer in Ladakh. For such an arid area, Ladakh has a great diversity of birds — a total of 318 species have been recorded (Including 30 species not seen since 1960). Many of these birds reside or breed at high-altitude wetlands such as Tso Moriri.


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