Larks (Alaudidae)

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata) - HBW 9, p. 595

French: Cochevis huppé German: Haubenlerche Spanish: Cogujada Común
Other common names: Common Crested Lark

Taxonomy: Alauda cristata Linnaeus, 1758, Europe = Vienna, Austria.
Subspecific taxonomy extremely complex, with over 60 races described across species’ huge range, seemingly a result of its mostly sedentary habits, and strong correlation of plumage ground colour and intensity of streaking with environmental factors (mainly soil colour, perhaps also general conditions of aridity and amount of sunshine); even within range of a given race, highly localized populations showing quite different colour, related to aberrantly coloured local soils, occur (e.g. within range of olive-grey apuliae in S Italy, ash-grey birds from E Calabria named as “herael.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Alauda cristata Linnaeus, 1758, Europe = Vienna, Austria.
Subspecific taxonomy extremely complex, with over 60 races described across species’ huge range, seemingly a result of its mostly sedentary habits, and strong correlation of plumage ground colour and intensity of streaking with environmental factors (mainly soil colour, perhaps also general conditions of aridity and amount of sunshine); even within range of a given race, highly localized populations showing quite different colour, related to aberrantly coloured local soils, occur (e.g. within range of olive-grey apuliae in S Italy, ash-grey birds from E Calabria named as “heraelaciniae”); also well-marked variation, tending to be clinal, in body size, wing length and, especially, bill length. In general, differences among races slight and often noticeable only if large series of skins in fresh plumage compared, as many taxa described on basis of small number of specimes, sometimes variably abraded; intergradation also evident, both in Palearctic and in Afrotropics. Birds from NW Spain sometimes attributed to nominate race. Several attempts at “lumping” undertaken, in some cases reducing number of races to just 20, but results seem often too arbitrary, and perhaps preferable to recognize described races unless very compelling reasons exist to merge them with others. Geographical areas of especial difficulty, where several races meet and establishment of neat frontiers among them appears impossible, include Morocco, Nile Valley, Near East and Asia Minor. Thorough review needed. Besides listed races, others described include madaraszi from S Croatia (Dalmatia) and muehlii from Greece, both included in meridionalis; moltschanowi from Crimea, in tenuirostris; ioniae from W Asia Minor (Izmir region), magdae from S Caspian region and submagna from Transcaspia, all in caucasica; weigoldi and ankarae from Asia Minor, in subtaurica; retrusa from N China (Gansu) and alaschanica from Inner Mongolia (Alxa), in magna; vamberyi from Kara Kum Desert (Turkmenistan), in iwanowi; gafsae, whitakeri and deprimozi from Tunisia, all in arenicola; deltae from Nile Delta, in nigricans; imami from Yemen and thomsi from N Oman (Muscat), in tardinata; moeritica from N Egypt (Faiyum), in maculata; caroli from Egypt, nubica from Ethiopia and eritreae from Eritrea, all in altirostris; and courtoti from W Chad and zalingei from W Sudan, both in alexanderi. Thirty-seven subspecies provisionally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • cristata (Linnaeus, 1758) - C Europe from Denmark and extreme S Sweden E to Belarus, S to France, N Italy, N former Yugoslavia, N Hungary and N Ukraine.
  • pallida C. L. Brehm, 1858 - Iberian Peninsula.
  • neumanni Hilgert, 1907 - W Italy (Toscana S to Rome area).

     See all 37 subspecies
  • cristata (Linnaeus, 1758) - C Europe from Denmark and extreme S Sweden E to Belarus, S to France, N Italy, N former Yugoslavia, N Hungary and N Ukraine.
  • pallida C. L. Brehm, 1858 - Iberian Peninsula.
  • neumanni Hilgert, 1907 - W Italy (Toscana S to Rome area).
  • apuliae von Jordans, 1935 - S peninsular Italy and Sicily.
  • tenuirostris C. L. Brehm, 1850 - E Hungary and Romania E to S Russia (S to N Caucasus region) and W Kazakhstan.
  • meridionalis C. L. Brehm, 1841 - S formerYugoslavia S to Greece (including Ionian Is and Crete) and W Turkey.
  • caucasica Taczanowski, 1888 - E Aegean Is (Samothraki S to Samos), N Turkey, S Caucasus and W Transcaucasia.
  • subtaurica (Kollibay, 1912) - C Turkey E to S Transcaucasia, NW Iran and W Turkmenistan, S to N & E Iraq.
  • cypriaca Bianchi, 1907 - Rhodes, Karpathos and Cyprus.
  • zion Meinertzhagen, 1920 - S Turkey, Syria, E Lebanon and E Israel (S to Jerusalem).
  • cinnamomina Hartert, 1904 - W Lebanon (S from Beirut) and NW Israel (Mt Carmel and Haifa).
  • magna Hume, 1871 - S Kazakhstan E to S Mongolia and N China (Xinjiang E to N Gansu and Inner Mongolia).
  • leautungensis Swinhoe, 1861 - Manchuria and NE China.
  • coreensis Taczanowski, 1888 - Korea.
  • iwanowi Loudon & Zarudny, 1903 - C Turkmenistan and C & S Iran E to S Tadjikistan, Afghanistan and NW Pakistan.
  • lynesi Whistler, 1928 - N Kashmir (Gilgit Valley).
  • kleinschmidti Erlanger, 1899 - NW Morocco (E to Rif Mts, S to Middle Atlas).
  • riggenbachi Hartert, 1902 - W Morocco (Casablanca S to Sous Valley).
  • carthaginis Kleinschmidt & Hilgert, 1905 - coastal region from NE Morocco E to N Tunisia (E to Sousse).
  • randoni Loche, 1860 - Hauts Plateaux of E Morocco (E of upper R Moulouya) and NW Algeria.
  • macrorhyncha Tristram, 1859 - S Morocco and NW Algeria S of Atlas Saharien (E to Laghouat and Ghardaia) S to WC Mauritania (Atar area).
  • balsaci Dekeyser & Villiers, 1950 - coastal Mauritania.
  • arenicola Tristram, 1859 - NE Algerian Sahara (E from Biskra and Ouargla), S Tunisia (S of Gafsa and Sfax) and NW Libya (Tripolitania).
  • helenae Lavauden, 1926 - SE Algeria and probably neighbouring SW Libya.
  • festae Hartert, 1922 - coastal NE Libya (Benghazi E to Tubruq).
  • brachyura Tristram, 1865 - NE Libya (inland Cyrenaica), coastal N Egypt (E to Alexandria), and from N Sinai Peninsula and S Israel (Negev and Dead Sea region) E to S Iraq and N Saudi Arabia.
  • nigricans C. L. Brehm, 1855 - N Egypt (Nile Delta).
  • maculata C. L. Brehm, 1858 - Nile Valley from Cairo S to Aswan (Egypt).
  • halfae Nicoll, 1921 - Nile Valley from Aswan S to extreme N Sudan (Wadi Halfa).
  • senegallensis (Statius Muller, 1776) - S Mauritania, Senegambia and Guinea-Bissau E to Niger.
  • jordansi Niethammer, 1955 - N Niger (Aïr Mts).
  • alexanderi Neumann, 1908 - N Nigeria E to W Sudan, and NE Central African Republic.
  • isabellina Bonaparte, 1850 - C Sudan (Kordofan E to R Nile).
  • altirostris C. L. Brehm, 1855 - E Sudan (E from Nile Valley) and Eritrea.
  • somaliensis Reichenow, 1907 - N Somalia, S Ethiopia and N Kenya.
  • tardinata Hartert, 1904 - S (perhaps also W) Arabia.
  • chendoola (Franklin, 1831) - S Kashmir foothills S to E Pakistan, W & N India (E to Bihar) and S Nepal.