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.

Lark
Alauda arvensis 2
Eurasian skylark (Alauda arvensis)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Superfamily: Sylvioidea
Family: Alaudidae
Vigors, 1825
Genera

see text

Taxonomy and systematics

The family Alaudidae was introduced in 1825 by the Irish zoologist Nicholas Aylward Vigors as a subfamily Alaudina of the finch family Fringillidae.[1][2] Larks are a well-defined family, partly because of the shape of their tarsus.[3] They have multiple scutes on the hind side of their tarsi, rather than the single plate found in most songbirds. They also lack a pessulus, the bony central structure in the syrinx of songbirds.[4] They were long placed at or near the beginning of the songbirds or oscines (now often called Passeri), just after the suboscines and before the swallows, for example in the American Ornithologists' Union's first check-list.[5] Some authorities, such as the British Ornithologists' Union[6] and the Handbook of the Birds of the World, adhere to that placement. However, many other classifications follow the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy in placing the larks in a large oscine subgroup Passerida (which excludes crows, shrikes and their allies, vireos, and many groups characteristic of Australia and south-eastern Asia). For instance, the American Ornithologists' Union places larks just after the crows, shrikes, and vireos. At a finer level of detail, some now place the larks at the beginning of a superfamily Sylvioidea with the swallows, various "Old World warbler" and "babbler" groups, and others.[7][8] Molecular phylogenetic studies have shown that within the Sylvioidea the larks form a sister clade to the Panuridae family which contains a single species, the bearded reedling (Panurus biarmicus).[9] The phylogeny of larks (Alaudidae) was reviewed in 2013, leading to the recognition of the arrangement below.[10][11]

Extant genera

The family Alaudidae contains 98 extant species which are divided into 21 genera:[11] For more detail, see list of lark species.

Image Genus Living Species
Greater Hoopoe Lark - Kutch, crop Alaemon Keyserling & Blasius, 1840
Spike-heeled lark 2018 03 10 13 20 38 3271 Chersomanes Cabanis, 1851
Gray's Lark Ammomanopsis Bianchi, 1905
  • Gray's lark (Ammomanopsis grayi)
Eastern Long-billed Lark (Certhilauda semitorquata) calling ... (30544868485), crop Certhilauda Swainson, 1827
Dusky Lark (Pinarocorys nigricans) (6029254985) Pinarocorys Shelley, 1902
Alouette de Clot Bey Ramphocoris clotbey Ramphocoris Bonaparte, 1850
  • thick-billed lark (Ramphocoris clotbey)
Rufous-tailed Lark (Ammomanes phoenicurus) in Kawal WS, AP W IMG 2004 Ammomanes Cabanis, 1851
Fisher's Sparrow-Lark - Tanzania 2008-03-01 0063 (16759772588) Eremopterix Kaup, 1836
Pink-breasted Lark - KenyaIMG 6762 (16740113947) Calendulauda Blyth, 1855
Heteromirafra ruddi, Wakkerstroom, Birding Weto, a Heteromirafra Grant, 1913
Flappet Lark, Sakania, DR Congo (16025285505), crop Mirafra Horsfield, 1821
Lullula arborea (Ján Svetlík) Lullula Kaup, 1829
Pseudalaemon fremantlii -East Africa-8 Spizocorys Sundevall, 1872
Alauda arvensis 2 Alauda Linnaeus, 1758
Syke's Lark Galerida deva by Dr. Raju Kasambe DSCN5681 (2) Galerida Linnaeus, 1758
Shore Lark Eremophila F. Boie, 1828
Red-capped lark, Calandrella cinerea, at Mapungubwe National Park, Limpopo, South Africa (23514690044) Calandrella Kaup, 1829
Melanocorypha calandra Melanocorypha F. Boie, 1828
Dupont's Lark, Morocco 1 (crop) (cropped) Chersophilus Sharpe, 1890
  • Dupont's lark (Chersophilus duponti)
Dunn's Lark Eremalauda WL Sclater, 1926
  • Dunn's lark (Eremalauda dunni)
Terrera marismeña (Calandrella rufescens) (8649673388) (2) (cropped) Alaudala Horsfield & Moore, 1858

Extinct genera

Description

Larks, which are part of the family Alaudidae, are small- to medium-sized birds, 12 to 24 cm (4.7 to 9.4 in) in length and 15 to 75 g (0.5 to 2.6 oz) in mass.[12]

Like many ground birds, most lark species have long hind claws, which are thought to provide stability while standing. Most have streaked brown plumage, some boldly marked with black or white. Their dull appearance camouflages them on the ground, especially when on the nest. They feed on insects and seeds; though adults of most species eat seeds primarily, all species feed their young insects for at least the first week after hatching. Many species dig with their bills to uncover food. Some larks have heavy bills (reaching an extreme in the thick-billed lark) for cracking seeds open, while others have long, down-curved bills, which are especially suitable for digging.[12]

Larks are the only passerines that lose all their feathers in their first moult (in all species whose first moult is known). This may result from the poor quality of the chicks' feathers, which in turn may result from the benefits to the parents of switching the young to a lower-quality diet (seeds), which requires less work from the parents.[12]

In many respects, including long tertial feathers, larks resemble other ground birds such as pipits. However, in larks the tarsus (the lowest leg bone, connected to the toes) has only one set of scales on the rear surface, which is rounded. Pipits and all other songbirds have two plates of scales on the rear surface, which meet at a protruding rear edge.[3]

Calls and song

Larks have more elaborate calls than most birds, and often extravagant songs given in display flight.[12] These melodious sounds (to human ears), combined with a willingness to expand into anthropogenic habitats — as long as these are not too intensively managed — have ensured larks a prominent place in literature and music, especially the Eurasian skylark in northern Europe and the crested lark and calandra lark in southern Europe.

Behaviour

Breeding

Male larks use song flights to defend their breeding territory and attract a mate. Most species build nests on the ground, usually cups of dead grass, but in some species the nests are more complicated and partly domed. A few desert species nest very low in bushes, perhaps so circulating air can cool the nest.[12] Larks' eggs are usually speckled. The size of the clutch is very variable and ranges from the single egg laid by Sclater's lark up to 6-8 eggs laid by the calandra lark and the black lark.[13] Larks incubate for 11 to 16 days.[12]

In culture

Larks as food

Larks, commonly consumed with bones intact, have historically been considered wholesome, delicate, and light game. They can be used in a number of dishes; for example, they can be stewed, broiled, or used as filling in a meat pie. Lark's tongues were particularly highly valued. In modern times, shrinking habitats made lark meat rare and hard to come by, though it can still be found in restaurants in Italy and elsewhere in southern Europe.[14]

Symbolism

The lark in mythology and literature stands for daybreak, as in Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale", "the bisy larke, messager of day" (I.1487; Benson 1988), and Shakespeare's Sonnet 29, "the lark at break of day arising / From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate" (11–12). The lark is also (often simultaneously) associated with "lovers and lovers' observance" (as in Bernart de Ventadorn's Can vei la lauzeta mover) and with "church services" (Sylvester and Roberts 2000), and often those the meanings of daybreak and religious reference are combined (in Blake's Visions of the Daughters of Albion, into a "spiritual daybreak" (Baine and Baine 1986)) to signify "passage from Earth to Heaven and from Heaven to Earth" (Stevens 2001). In Renaissance painters such as Domenico Ghirlandaio the lark symbolizes Christ, in reference to John 16:16 (Cadogan 2000).

Pet

Traditionally larks are kept as pets in China. In Beijing, larks are taught to mimic the voice of other songbirds and animals. It is an old-fashioned habit of the Beijingers to teach their larks 13 kinds of sounds in a strict order (called "the 13 songs of a lark", Chinese: 百灵十三套). The larks that can sing the full 13 sounds in the correct order are highly valued, while any disruption in the songs will decrease its value significantly (Jin 2005).

See also

References

  1. ^ Bock, Walter J. (1994). History and Nomenclature of Avian Family-Group Names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. Number 222. New York: American Museum of Natural History. pp. 149, 264.
  2. ^ Vigors, Nicholas Aylward (1825). "On the arrangement of the genera of birds". Zoological Journal. 2: 391-405 [398].
  3. ^ a b Ridgway, Robert (1907). "The Birds of North and Middle America, Part IV". Bulletin of the United States National Museum. 50: 289–290.
  4. ^ Ames, Peter L. (1971). The morphology of the syrinx in passerine birds (PDF). Bulletin 37, Peabody Museum of Natural History. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University. p. 104.
  5. ^ Patterson, Bob (2002). "The History of North American Bird Names in the American Ornithologists' Union Checklists 1886 - 2000". Retrieved 24 June 2008.
  6. ^ Dudley, Steve P.; Gee, Mike; Kehoe, Chris; Melling, Tim M. (2006). "The British List: A Checklist of Birds of Britain (7th edition)". Ibis. 148 (3): 526–563. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.2006.00603.x. Retrieved 24 June 2008.
  7. ^ Barker, F. Keith; Barrowclough, George F.; Groth, Jeff G. (2002). "A phylogenetic hypothesis for passerine birds: taxonomic and biogeographic implications of an analysis of nuclear DNA sequence data". Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 269 (1488): 295–308. doi:10.1098/rspb.2001.1883. PMC 1690884.
  8. ^ Alström, Per; Ericson, Per G.P.; Olsson, Urban; Sundberg, Per (2006). "Phylogeny and classification of the avian superfamily Sylvioidea". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 38 (2): 381–397. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.05.015. PMID 16054402.
  9. ^ Fregin, Silke; Haase, Martin; Olsson, Urban; Alström, Per (2012). "New insights into family relationships within the avian superfamily Sylvioidea (Passeriformes) based on seven molecular markers". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 12 (157): 1–12. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-12-157.
  10. ^ Alström, Per; Barnes, Keith N.; Olsson, Urban; Barker, F. Keith; Bloomer, Paulette; Khan, Aleem Ahmed; Qureshi, Masood Ahmed; Guillaumet, Alban; Crochet, Pierre-Andre; Ryan, Peter G. (2013). "Multilocus phylogeny of the avian family Alaudidae (larks) reveals complex morphological evolution, non-monophyletic genera and hidden species diversity" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 69 (3): 1043–1056. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2013.06.005.
  11. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2018). "Nicators, reedling, larks". World Bird List Version 8.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Kikkawa, Jiro (2003). "Larks". In Perrins, Christopher (ed.). Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds. Firefly Books. pp. 578–583. ISBN 1-55297-777-3.
  13. ^ de Juana, E.; Suárez, F.; Ryan, P. (2018). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "Larks (Alaudidae)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  14. ^ Hooper, John (2010-02-17). "Cat, dormouse and other Italian recipes". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-05-07.

Sources

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.

Black-crowned sparrow-lark

The black-crowned sparrow-lark (Eremopterix nigriceps) is a species of lark in the family Alaudidae. It is found across northern Africa from Mauritania through the Middle East to north-western India. Its natural habitat is dry savanna.

C-Lark

The C-Lark is an American sailboat, that was designed by Don Martin and first built in 1964.

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.

Cow hitch

The cow hitch is a hitch knot used to attach a rope to an object. The cow hitch comprises a pair of half-hitches tied in opposing directions, as compared to the clove hitch in which the half-hitches are tied in the same direction. It has several variations and is known under a variety of names. It can be tied either with the end of the rope or with a bight.

Crested lark

The crested lark (Galerida cristata) is a species of lark distinguished from the other 81 species of lark by the crest of feathers that rise up in territorial or courtship displays and when singing. Common to mainland Europe, the birds can also be found in northern Africa and in parts of western Asia and China. It is a non-migratory bird, but can occasionally be found as a vagrant in Great Britain.

Desert lark

The desert lark (Ammomanes deserti) breeds in deserts and semi-deserts from Morocco to western India. It has a very wide distribution and faces no obvious threats, and surveys have shown that it is slowly increasing in numbers as it expands its range. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".

Eurasian skylark

The Eurasian skylark (Alauda arvensis) is a passerine bird in the lark family Alaudidae. It is a wide-spread species found across Europe and Asia with introduced populations in New Zealand, Australia and on the Hawaiian Islands. It is a bird of open farmland and heath, known for the song of the male, which is delivered in hovering flight from heights of 50 to 100 metres (160 to 330 ft). The sexes are alike. It is streaked greyish-brown above and on the breast and has a buff-white belly.

The female Eurasian skylark builds an open nest in a shallow depression on open ground well away from trees, bushes and hedges. She lays three to five eggs which she incubates for around 11 days. The chicks are fed by both parents but leave the nest after eight to ten days, well before they can fly. They scatter and hide in the vegetation but continue to be fed by the parents until they can fly at 18 to 20 days of age. Nests are subject to high predation rates by larger birds and small mammals. The parents can have several broods in a single season.

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.

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.

Lark (dinghy)

The Lark is a two-person, non-trapeze sailing dinghy, designed in 1966 by Michael Jackson (who was also responsible for many National 12 and Merlin Rocket designs). All Larks are made of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). The Lark is a one-design class which leads to very close racing.

The boat is very popular in the UK with a new builder (Ovington boats) signed up in 2010. In the UK the class became very popular through the university team racing circuit. The boat was also popular in clubs as it is suited to a wide range of crew weights, typically from 18 stone up to 25 stone. It is still one of the fastest non-trapeze dinghies available. Larks participate in handicap racing, utilising a Portsmouth number of 1073.National Championships are held every year in the UK. Entries to the Nationals in the 1970s and 1980s was typically 125 plus boats and although numbers have dropped still typically attracts 50 plus boats to the Nationals. This class is well known for its social events and the Masters continue this tradition with an event every two years.

In the United States, Larks are sailed at several east coast universities, including Tufts and The University of Connecticut. The University of Connecticut fleet is among the oldest functioning fleet in the United States. In the United States of America college sailing forms part of the training scheme for Olympic competition, sharing the same training model as many other collegiate sports. Although the Olympic class 470 is far more powerful than the collegiate 420, the former is similar to the Lark, making it an ideal junior boat for the 470. The Lark also shares skiff like characteristics with the 49er, another Olympic class, hence the Lark's suitability for collegiate sailing in relatively flat water conditions, which amount to roughly 70% of all college venues. In mixed fleets, Larks sail off a D-PN handicap of 93.6.

Lark Harbour

Lark Harbour is small fishing community on the western coast of Newfoundland, on the south side of the Bay of Islands, and west of the City of Corner Brook.

Combined with neighbouring York Harbour, there is a population of about 866. Blow Me Down Provincial Park lies on the boundary between the two communities.

Lark Voorhies

Lark Voorhies (born Lark Holloway; March 25, 1974) is an American actress, singer, spokeswoman and model. Voorhies rose to fame playing Lisa Marie Turtle on the NBC sitcom Saved by the Bell (1989–1993). Voorhies was nominated for the Young Artist Award six times, winning in 1990 and 1993 for her work on the show.

Lark sparrow

The lark sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) is a fairly large American sparrow. It is the only member of the genus Chondestes.

Lesser short-toed lark

The lesser short-toed lark (Alaudala rufescens) is a small passerine bird found in southern Eurasia and northern Africa. It is a common bird with a very wide range and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern". Confusingly, Hume's short-toed lark is also sometimes called the lesser short-toed lark.

Rufous-naped lark

The rufous-naped lark (Mirafra africana) or rufous-naped bush lark is a widespread and conspicuous species of lark in the lightly wooded grasslands, open savannas and farmlands of the Afrotropics. Males attract attention to themselves by their bold and repeated wing-fluttering displays from prominent perches, which is accompanied by a melodious and far-carrying whistled phrase. This rudimentary display has been proposed as the precursor to the wing-clapping displays of other bush lark species. They have consistently rufous outer wings and a short erectile crest, but the remaining plumage hues and markings are individually and geographically variable. It has a straight lower, and longish, curved upper mandible.

Sterling Publishing

Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. is a publisher of a broad range of subject areas, with multiple imprints and more than 5,000 titles in print. Founded in 1949, Sterling also publishes books for a number of brands, including AARP, Hasbro, Hearst Magazines, and USA TODAY, as well as serves as the North American distributor for domestic and international publishers including: Anova, Boxer Books, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Carlton Books, Duncan Baird, Guild of Master Craftsmen, the Orion Publishing Group, and Sixth & Spring Books. Sterling also owns and operates two verticals, Lark Crafts and Pixiq.

Sterling Publishing is a wholly owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, who acquired it in 2003. On January 5, 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported that Barnes & Noble had put its Sterling Publishing business up for sale. Negotiations failed to produce a buyer, however, and Sterling is reportedly no longer for sale as of March, 2012.

Wheat Field with a Lark

In 1887, while Vincent van Gogh was residing in Paris, he executed an oil painting commonly known as Wheat Field with a Lark.

The center part shows a partially harvested field of wheat under a sky patterned with light clouds. A lark takes flight toward the upper left of the canvas.

The painting measures 54 x 65.5 cm (approximately 21-1/4 x 25-3/4 inches) and is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, where it is known as Korenveld met patrijs (English: Wheat field with partridge).

Woodlark

The woodlark or wood lark (Lullula arborea) is the only extant species in the lark genus Lullula. It is found across most of Europe, the Middle East, western Asia and the mountains of north Africa. It is mainly resident (non-migratory) in the west of its range, but eastern populations of this passerine bird are more migratory, moving further south in winter.

There are two subspecies of woodlark, L. a. arborea and L. a. pallida. The former is native to northern regions of Europe, while the latter can be found in the south of the woodlark's range. Their diet is mostly composed of seeds but also includes insects during the breeding period. A comparatively small bird, the woodlark is between 13.5 and 15 centimetres long and roughly 20% shorter than the skylark. It is a brown bird with a pale underside and has a white-tipped tail.

Larks - Alaudidae (IOC World Bird List, August 2017)
Genus
Alaemon
Chersomanes
Ammomanopsis
Certhilauda
Pinarocorys
Ramphocoris
Ammomanes
Eremopterix
Calendulauda
Heteromirafra
Mirafra
Lullula
Spizocorys
Alauda
Galerida
Eremophila
Calandrella
Melanocorypha
Chersophilus
Eremalauda
Alaudala
Larks – Alaudidae (eBird, August 2017)
Genus
Alaemon
Chersomanes
Ammomanopsis
Certhilauda
Pinarocorys
Ramphocoris
Ammomanes
Eremopterix
Calendulauda
Heteromirafra
Mirafra
Eremophila
Calandrella
Melanocorypha
Chersophilus
Eremalauda
Alaudala
Lullula
Spizocorys
Alauda
Galerida
Larks – Alaudidae (Birdlife & HBW, August 2017)
Genus
Alaemon
Chersomanes
Ammomanopsis
Certhilauda
Pinarocorys
Ramphocoris
Ammomanes
Eremopterix
Calendulauda
Heteromirafra
Mirafra
Chersophilus
Eremalauda
Alaudala
Melanocorypha
Calandrella
Eremophila
Lullula
Spizocorys
Alauda
Galerida

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