Horned lark

The horned lark (Eremophila alpestris), called the shore lark in Europe, is a species of lark in the Alaudidae family found across the northern hemisphere.

Horned lark
Shore Lark
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Alaudidae
Genus: Eremophila
Species:
E. alpestris
Binomial name
Eremophila alpestris
Subspecies

See text

Eremophila alpestris distribution map
Distribution map of horned lark

     breeding area      all-year area      nonbreeding area

Synonyms
  • Alauda alpestris Linnaeus, 1758
  • Chionophila alpestris (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Otocorys alpestris (Linnaeus, 1758)

Taxonomy and systematics

The specific alpestris is Latin and means "of the high mountains", from Alpes, the Alps.[2]

The horned lark was originally classified in the genus Alauda. Recent genetic analysis has suggested that the species consists of six clades that in the future may warrant recognition as separate species.[3]

Subspecies

Forty-two subspecies are recognized:[4]

  • Pallid horned lark (E. a. arcticola) – (Oberholser, 1902): Found from northern Alaska to British Columbia (western Canada)
  • Hoyt's horned lark (E. a. hoyti) – (Bishop, 1896): Found in northern Canada
  • Northern American horned lark (E. a. alpestris) – (Linnaeus, 1758): Found in eastern Canada
  • Dusky horned lark (E. a. merrilli) – (Dwight, 1890): Found on western coast of Canada and USA
  • Streaked horned lark (E. a. strigata) – (Henshaw, 1884): Found on coastal southern British Columbia (western Canada) to coastal Oregon (western USA)
  • St. Helens horned lark (E. a. alpina) – (Jewett, 1943): Found on mountains of western Washington (north-western USA)
  • Oregon horned lark (E. a. lamprochroma) – (Oberholser, 1932): Found on inland mountains of western USA
  • Desert horned lark (E. a. leucolaema) – Coues, 1874: Also known as the pallid horned lark. Found from southern Alberta (south-western Canada) through north-central and central USA
  • Saskatchewan horned lark (E. a. enthymia) – (Oberholser, 1902): Found from south-central Canada to Oklahoma and Texas (central USA)
  • Prairie horned lark (E. a. praticola) – (Henshaw, 1884): Found in south-eastern Canada, north-eastern and east-central USA
  • Sierra horned lark (E. a. sierrae) – (Oberholser, 1920): Also known as the Sierra Nevada horned lark. Found on mountains of north-eastern California (western USA)
  • Ruddy horned lark (E. a. rubea) – (Henshaw, 1884): Found in central California (western USA)
  • Utah horned lark (E. a. utahensis) – (Behle, 1938): Found on mountains of west-central USA
  • Island horned lark (E. a. insularis) – (Dwight, 1890): Found on islands off southern California (western USA)
  • California horned lark (E. a. actia) – (Oberholser, 1902): Found on coastal mountains of southern California (western USA) and northern Baja California (north-western Mexico)
  • Mohave horned lark (E. a. ammophila) – (Oberholser, 1902): Found in deserts of south-eastern California and south-western Nevada (south-western USA)
  • Sonora horned lark (E. a. leucansiptila) – (Oberholser, 1902): Found in deserts of southern Nevada, western Arizona (south-western USA) and north-western Mexico
  • Montezuma horned lark (E. a. occidentalis) – (McCall, 1851): Originally described as a separate species. Found in northern Arizona to central New Mexico (south-western USA)
  • Scorched horned lark (E. a. adusta) – (Dwight, 1890): Found in southern Arizona and southern New Mexico (south-western USA), possibly north-central Mexico
  • Magdalena horned lark (E. a. enertera) – (Oberholser, 1907): Found in central Baja California (north-western Mexico)
  • Texas horned lark (E. a. giraudi) – (Henshaw, 1884): Found in coastal south-central USA and north-eastern Mexico
  • E. a. aphrasta(Oberholser, 1902): Found in Chihuahua and Durango (north-western Mexico)
  • E. a. lacteaPhillips, AR, 1970: Found in Coahuila (north-central Mexico)
  • E. a. diaphora(Oberholser, 1902): Found in southern Coahuila to north-eastern Puebla (north-central and eastern Mexico)
  • Mexican horned lark (E. a. chrysolaema) – (Wagler, 1831): Originally described as a separate species in the genus Alauda. Found from west-central to east-central Mexico
  • E. a. oaxacae(Nelson, 1897): Found in southern Mexico
  • Colombian horned lark (E. a. peregrina) – (Sclater, PL, 1855): Originally described as a separate species. Found in Colombia
  • Shore lark (E. a. flava) – (Gmelin, JF, 1789): Originally described as a separate species in the genus Alauda. Found in northern Europe and northern Asia
  • Steppe horned lark (E. a. brandti) – (Dresser, 1874): Also known as Brandt's horned lark. Originally described as a separate species. Found from south-eastern European Russia to western Mongolia and northern China
  • Moroccan horned lark (E. a. atlas) – (Whitaker, 1898): This subspecies is also called "shore lark". Originally described as a separate species. Found in Morocco
  • Balkan horned lark (E. a. balcanica) – (Reichenow, 1895): This subspecies is also called "shore lark". Found in southern Balkans and Greece
  • E. a. kumerloeveiRoselaar, 1995: Found in western and central Asia Minor
  • Southern horned lark (E. a. penicillata) – (Gould, 1838): This subspecies is also called "shore lark". Originally described as a separate species in the genus Alauda. Found from eastern Turkey and the Caucasus to Iran
  • Lebanon horned lark (E. a. bicornis) – (Brehm, CL, 1842): This subspecies is also called "shore lark". Originally described as a separate species. Found from Lebanon to Israel/Syria border
  • Pamir horned lark (E. a. albigula) – (Bonaparte, 1850): This subspecies is also called "shore lark". Originally described as a separate species. Found from north-eastern Iran and Turkmenistan to north-western Pakistan
  • E. a. argalea(Oberholser, 1902): This subspecies is also called "shore lark". Found in extreme western China
  • Przewalski's lark (E. a. teleschowi) – (Przewalski, 1887): This subspecies is also called "shore lark". Originally described as a separate species. Found in western and west-central China
  • E. a. przewalskii(Bianchi, 1904): This subspecies is also called "shore lark". Found in northern Qinghai (west-central China)
  • E. a. nigrifrons(Przewalski, 1876): This subspecies is also called "shore lark". Originally described as a separate species. Found in north-eastern Qinghai (west-central China)
  • Long-billed horned lark (E. a. longirostris) – (Moore, F, 1856): This subspecies is also called "shore lark". Originally described as a separate species. Found in north-eastern Pakistan and western Himalayas
  • E. a. elwesi(Blanford, 1872): This subspecies is also called "shore lark". Originally described as a separate species. Found on southern and eastern Tibetan Plateau
  • E. a. khamensis(Bianchi, 1904): This subspecies is also called "shore lark". Found in south-western and south-central China

Description

Unlike most other larks, this is a distinctive-looking species on the ground, mainly brown-grey above and pale below, with a striking black and yellow face pattern. Except for the central feathers, the tail is mostly black, contrasting with the paler body; this contrast is especially noticeable when the bird is in flight. The summer male has black "horns", which give this species its American name. North America has a number of races distinguished by the face pattern and back colour of males, especially in summer. The southern European mountain race E. a. penicillata is greyer above, and the yellow of the face pattern is replaced with white.

Eremophila alpestris -British Columbia, Canada-8
In British Columbia, Canada

Vocalizations are high-pitched, lisping or tinkling, and weak. The song, given in flight as is common among larks, consists of a few chips followed by a warbling, ascending trill.

Distribution and habitat

Horned lark
A lark displaying its horns at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

The horned lark breeds across much of North America from the high Arctic south to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, northernmost Europe and Asia and in the mountains of south-east Europe. There is also an isolated population on a plateau in Colombia. It is mainly resident in the south of its range, but northern populations of this passerine bird are migratory, moving further south in winter.

This is a bird of open ground. In Eurasia it breeds above the tree line in mountains and the far north. In most of Europe, it is most often seen on seashore flats in winter, leading to the European name. In the UK it can be found as a winter stopover along the coasts and in eastern England. In North America, where there are no other larks to compete with, it is also found on farmland, on prairies, in deserts, on golf courses and airports.

Behaviour and ecology

Horned Lark, Eremophila alpestris, nestlings begging, baby birds, gape colors, in nest Alberta Canada (3)
A nest with three chicks in the oil fields of Alberta, Canada

The nest is on the ground, with two to five eggs being laid. Food is seeds supplemented with insects in the breeding season. The nest may be near corn or soybeans for a source of food, and the female chooses the site. The structure of Horned Lark nests can vary depending on the microclimate, prevailing weather and predation risk, revealing flexibility in nesting behaviour to adjust to changing environmental conditions to maintain nest survival and nestling size development.[5]

Status and conservation

In the open areas of western North America, horned larks are among the bird species most often killed by wind turbines.[6] In 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the subspecies streaked horned lark as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.[7]

References

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Eremophila alpestris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 42, 148. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  3. ^ Drovetski, Sergei V.; Raković, Marko; Semenov, Georgy; Fadeev, Igor V.; Red'kin, Yaroslav A. (2014-01-01). "Limited phylogeographic signal in sex-linked and autosomal loci despite geographically, ecologically, and phenotypically concordant structure of mtDNA variation in the Holarctic avian genus Eremophila". PLoS One. 9 (1): e87570. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087570. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 3907499. PMID 24498139.
  4. ^ "IOC World Bird List 6.4". IOC World Bird List Datasets. doi:10.14344/ioc.ml.6.4.
  5. ^ de Zwaan, D.R.; Martin, K. (2018). "Substrate and structure of ground nests have fitness consequences for an alpine songbird". Ibis. 160 (4): 790–804. doi:10.1111/ibi.12582.
  6. ^ Erickson, W.P., G. D. Johnson, D. P. Young, Jr., M. D. Strickland, R.E. Good, M.Bourassa, K. Bay. 2002. Synthesis and Comparison of Baseline Avian and Bat Use, Raptor Nesting and Mortality Information from Proposed and Existing Wind Developments. Technical Report prepared for Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon. http://www.bpa.gov/Power/pgc/wind/Avian_and_Bat_Study_12-2002.pdf
  7. ^ "Species Fact Sheet: Streaked horned lark". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2014-08-05. Retrieved 2014-08-19.

Further reading

External links

Alauda

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.

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.

Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge

The Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge is a 44,414-acre (179.74 km2) wildlife conservation area along the coast of Texas (USA), east of the towns of Angleton and Lake Jackson, Texas. It borders a bay on the Intracoastal Waterway, behind a barrier island at the Gulf of Mexico.

Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1969 and provides quality habitat for wintering migratory waterfowl and other bird life. The refuge contains a freshwater slough which winds through salt marshes.In winter, more than 100,000 snow geese, Canada geese, pintail, northern shoveler, teal, gadwall, American wigeon, mottled ducks, and sandhill cranes fill the numerous ponds and sloughs to capacity.In summer, birds which nest on the refuge include 10 species of herons and egrets, white ibis, roseate spoonbill, mottled duck, white-tailed kite, clapper rail, horned lark, seaside sparrow, black skimmer, and scissor-tailed flycatcher.Three national wildlife refuges on the Texas coast - Brazoria, San Bernard and Big Boggy - form a vital complex of coastal wetlands harboring more than 300 bird species.

Brooks-British Range tundra

The Brooks-British Range tundra is an ecoregion spanning North America and Canada, and is one of the WWF Global 200 ecoregions

Damon Point

Damon Point in Grays Harbor County, Washington is a former Washington State Park. The park consisted of 61 acres (25 ha) at the southeastern tip of Ocean Shores Peninsula on a 1-mile (1.6 km) by 0.5-mile (0.80 km) piece of land jutting out into Grays Harbor. Today, the Washington Department of Natural Resources controls the land, and has been restoring it as bird habitat, especially for the threatened streaked horned lark, but also for other birds, including the snowy plover.

Eremophila (bird)

The bird genus Eremophila comprises the two horned larks.

Exit Glacier

Exit Glacier is a glacier derived from the Harding Icefield in the Kenai Mountains of Alaska and one of Kenai Fjords National Park's major attractions. It is one of the most accessible valley glaciers in Alaska and is a visible indicator of glacial recession due to climate change. Exit Glacier retreated approximately 187 feet (57 m) from 2013 to 2014 and park scientists continue to monitor and record the glacier's accelerating recession.It received its name for serving as the exit for the first recorded crossing of the Harding Icefield in 1968.

Lark

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 birds of Mont-Tremblant National Park

This lists the species of birds in Mont-Tremblant National Park in Quebec, Canada. The bolded species indicate that they are threatened in the area.

List of birds of the Klamath Basin

The following bird species are found in the Klamath Basin, Oregon, and related areas; (a few species listed are only "native" and have a larger continental range). The Klamath Basin is within the Pacific Flyway so, over 350 species can be spotted migrating through the flyover.

Mohave ground squirrel

The Mohave ground squirrel (Xerospermophilus mohavensis) is a species of ground squirrel found only in the Mojave Desert in California. The squirrel was discovered in 1886 by Frank Stephens of San Diego (after whom the Stephens soft-haired ground squirrel is named). It is listed as a threatened species under the California Endangered Species Act, but not under the federal Endangered Species Act. The IUCN lists this species as vulnerable.

The Mojave ground squirrel measures about nine inches from nose to tail and feeds on leaves and seeds from February to July. Near the end of July, the squirrels begin a period of estivation, but this may occur as early as April in drought years. Litters do not survive if drought years force an early hibernation. Local populations can be wiped out if a drought lasts for multiple years.This squirrel inhabits the western Mojave Desert in portions of Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino counties. It can occupy Joshua tree woodlands, creosote scrub, saltbush scrub and mojave mixed woody scrub. Typical forage plants are those that meet nutritional and water content requirements. These can include shrubs such as winterfat, spiny hopsage, and boxthorn (Lycium spp.). Preferred annuals include Coreopsis spp., Eremalche spp., Astragalus spp., and lupine.

Soils are usually friable and conducive to burrow excavation. Areas of preferred habitat include habitat types that provide ample forage to allow Mohave ground squirrels to persist during drought periods. These persistent populations may act as core areas from which populations expand from during adequate rainfall years which are required for Mohave ground squirrels to reproduce. This dynamic expansion and contraction in populations can make it challenging to determine whether the species is present since extended periods of drought can cause a die-off on local populations until surrounding populations expand during consecutive reproductive years.

Mohave ground squirrels emit a high-pitched "peep" as an alarm call, when startled or when young begin to emerge from their natal burrows. The vocalization is sometimes confused with that of the horned lark. Mohave ground squirrels can occasionally be sighted perched in Lycium cooperii or in Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) during mid-morning (9-11 a.m.) hours (April–June) basking in the sun.

Males emerge from hibernation in early February and females are soon to follow. Reproduction occurs in early March and gestation lasts for about four weeks. Litters range from 4-6 individuals. Juveniles emerge from the natal burrows in late May to Mid June. Predators include badgers, coyotes, snakes, falcons and hawks.

Northern shrike

The northern shrike (Lanius borealis) is a large songbird species in the shrike family (Laniidae) native to North America and Siberia. Long considered a subspecies of the great grey shrike, it was classified as a distinct species in 2017. Six subspecies are recognised.

Siffleur Wilderness Area

The Siffleur Wilderness Area is a provincially designated wilderness area in the Canadian Rockies of Alberta. It was established in 1961 and it, as one of the three wilderness areas of Alberta, has the strictest form of government protection available in Canada. All development is forbidden and only travel by foot is permitted. Hunting and fishing are not allowed. The other two wilderness areas are White Goat Wilderness Area and Ghost River Wilderness Area and together the three areas total 249,548.80 acres (100,988.82 ha).Siffleur is located near the west end and south side of Canadian Highway 11 and slightly south of the White Goat Wilderness area. It is near the north end of Banff National Park and the south end of Jasper National Park. Mountains rise to 3,300 metres (10,800 ft). The area has rugged mountains, glacier-carved valleys, mountain lakes, and alpine meadows. There are two distinct vegetation zones. Above 2,100 metres (6,900 ft), the tree line, are grasses, sedges and wildflowers. Below that are subalpine forests of spruce, fir, and lodgepole pine. At even lower elevations there are aspen and balsam poplar. Animals in the lower regions include woodland caribou, moose, elk, white-tailed deer, mule deer, grizzly bear, black bear, cougar, coyote, timber wolf, and wolverine. Animals in the upper regions include golden-mantled ground squirrels, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, hoary marmot, pika, white-tailed ptarmigan, grey-crowned rosy finch, water pipit and horned lark. Eagles are seen in both the lower and upper regions.Like Siffleur Mountain and Siffleur River, the French siffleur name was applied by James Hector in 1858 for the shrill whistles of the marmot which inhabit the area.

Snow bunting

The snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) is a passerine bird in the family Calcariidae. It is an Arctic specialist, with a circumpolar Arctic breeding range throughout the northern hemisphere. There are small isolated populations on a few high mountain tops south of the Arctic region, including the Cairngorms in central Scotland and the Saint Elias Mountains on the southern Alaska-Yukon border, and also Cape Breton Highlands. The snow bunting is the most northerly recorded passerine in the world.

Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park

Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park (Iqaluit Kuunga in the Inuktitut language) is a Canadian territorial park located 1 km away from Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut territory in Canada. The Sylvia Grinnell river flows through the park. The park also has archaeological sites of the Dorset culture and the Thule people.

Temminck's lark

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. This bird's common name commemorates the Dutch naturalist Coenraad Jacob Temminck. The population is declining in Israel and may also be declining elsewhere, probably as a result of habitat loss. Nevertheless, this is a common bird in many parts of its wide range and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".

Twin Islands (Nunavut)

The Twin Islands (Cree language: Mah-Nah-Woo-Na-N) are similarly shaped Arctic islands in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, Canada. They are located in central James Bay, 56 km (35 mi) north east of Akimiski Island, and 58 km (36 mi) west of Quebec. The group includes North Twin and South Twin islands.

White Goat Wilderness Area

The White Goat Wilderness Area is a provincially designated wilderness area in the Canadian Rockies of Alberta. It was established in 1961 and it, as one of the three wilderness areas of Alberta, has the strictest form of government protection available in Canada. All development is forbidden and only travel by foot is permitted. Hunting and fishing are not allowed. The other two wilderness areas are Ghost River Wilderness Area and Siffleur Wilderness Area and together the three areas total 249,548.80 acres (100,988.82 ha).White Goat is located near the west end and north side of Canadian Highway 11 and slightly north of the Siffleur Wilderness area. It is near the north end of Banff National Park, the south end of Jasper National Park, and east of the Columbia Icefield. Mountains rise to over 3,300 metres (10,800 ft). The area has rugged mountains, glacier-carved valleys, mountain lakes, waterfalls, and alpine meadows. There are two distinct vegetation zones. Above 2,100 metres (6,900 ft), the tree line, are grasses, sedges and wildflowers. Below that are spruce, fir, and lodgepole pine. Animals in the lower regions include woodland caribou, moose, elk, white-tailed deer, mule deer, grizzly bear, black bear, cougar, coyote, timber wolf, and wolverine. Animals in the upper regions include golden-mantled ground squirrels, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, hoary marmot, pika, white-tailed ptarmigan, grey-crowned rosy finch, water pipit and horned lark. Eagles are seen in both the lower and upper regions.

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