Larks (Alaudidae)

Desert Lark (Ammomanes deserti) - HBW 9, p. 577

French: Ammomane isabelline German: Steinlerche Spanish: Terrera Sahariana
Other common names: Desert Finch-lark, Sand Lark(!)

Taxonomy: Alauda deserti M. H. K. Lichtenstein, 1823, Aswan, upper Egypt.
Was in the past thought to form a superspecies with Ammomanopsis grayi, but apparent similarities now attributed to convergence. Similar morphologically, vocally and in habitat choice to A. phoenicura, and likely to be more closely related to that species. Geographical variation complex, and numerous races named mainly on basis of plumage coloration, which in turn seems strongly related to predominant soil colours; pale and dark birds live side by side in some areas, e.g. Algeria (Hoggar Mts), Nile Valley and Jordan. Although over 30 races have been described, many now usually m.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Alauda deserti M. H. K. Lichtenstein, 1823, Aswan, upper Egypt.
Was in the past thought to form a superspecies with Ammomanopsis grayi, but apparent similarities now attributed to convergence. Similar morphologically, vocally and in habitat choice to A. phoenicura, and likely to be more closely related to that species. Geographical variation complex, and numerous races named mainly on basis of plumage coloration, which in turn seems strongly related to predominant soil colours; pale and dark birds live side by side in some areas, e.g. Algeria (Hoggar Mts), Nile Valley and Jordan. Although over 30 races have been described, many now usually merged with others, often in rather arbitrary way, for example: bensoni (grey-coloured) and janeti (brown) from Hoggar Mts have been included variously in geyri or whitakeri; intermedia (from El Golea area of Algeria) in mya or algeriensis; mirei (from Tibesti Mts, in Chad) in nominate race, whitakeri or algeriensis; monodi (from the Iriji, in Mauritania) in payni or geyri; katharinae (from Sinai Peninsula) in nominate or isabellina; hijazensis (from Arabian W coast) in samharensis or isabellina. In addition, fratercula (described from Dead Sea region) and borosi (from lower Nile Valley in EC Egypt) considered inseparable from isabellina. Races iranica and phoenicuroides said to intergrade widely in Afghanistan and Pakistan (in region from Kandahar E to Quetta). Thorough review of taxonomy required. Twenty-four subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • payni Hartert, 1924 - Morocco (S of High Atlas Mts) and nearby SW Algeria.
  • algeriensis Sharpe, 1890 - N Algeria (N of 31º N), Tunisia and NW Libya (W Tripolitania).
  • mya Hartert, 1912 - C Algeria (Sahara between 30º N and 27º N).

     See all 24 subspecies
  • payni Hartert, 1924 - Morocco (S of High Atlas Mts) and nearby SW Algeria.
  • algeriensis Sharpe, 1890 - N Algeria (N of 31º N), Tunisia and NW Libya (W Tripolitania).
  • mya Hartert, 1912 - C Algeria (Sahara between 30º N and 27º N).
  • geyri Hartert, 1924 - Mauritania E to S Algeria and NW Niger (Aïr Massif).
  • whitakeri Hartert, 1911 - SE Algeria (including Hoggar Mts) and SW Libya, perhaps also NW Chad (Tibesti Mts).
  • kollmanspergeri Niethammer, 1955 - NE Chad (Ennedi Mts) and W Sudan (Darfur).
  • isabellina (Temminck, 1823) - N Egypt (from W of Nile Valley and Dakhla Oasis) E to S & E Israel, S Jordan, NW Saudi Arabia and S Iraq (E to R Tigris).
  • deserti (M. H. K. Lichtenstein, 1823) - E Egypt (E of R Nile to Red Sea) S to Sudan.
  • erythrochroa Reichenow, 1904 - W Chad (Ndjamena) E to N Sudan (Dongola S to Kordofan).
  • samharensis Shelley, 1902 - Red Sea coasts of Sudan, Eritrea (S to Mits’iwa) and Arabian Peninsula (S to Yemen border).
  • assabensis Salvadori, 1902 - Ethiopia and NW Somalia.
  • akeleyi Elliot, 1897 - highlands of N Somalia.
  • coxi Meinertzhagen, 1923 - S Turkey (Birecik), Syria and N Iraq (E to Samarra and Al Fallujah).
  • annae Meinertzhagen, 1923 - black lava deserts of Jordan (Azraq area), probably also extreme S Syria.
  • azizi Ticehurst & Cheesman, 1924 - NE Saudi Arabia (Al Hufuf area).
  • saturata Ogilvie-Grant, 1900 - black lava deserts of S Arabia (N Hijaz S to Aden).
  • insularis Ripley, 1951 - Bahrain, in Persian Gulf.
  • taimuri Meyer de Schauensee & Ripley, 1953 - Oman (Muscat area).
  • cheesmani Meinertzhagen, 1923 - E Iraq (E of R Tigres) to W Iran (S, W of Zagros Mts, to Persian Gulf near Bandar e Bushehr).
  • darica Koelz, 1951 - SW Iran (S Zagros Mts).
  • parvirostris Hartert, 1890 - W Turkmenistan (Kara-Bogaz-Gol S to Kopet Dagh and Atrak Basin).
  • orientalis Zarudny & Loudon, 1904 - NE Iran (N Khorasan), Turkestan (S Turkmenistan, S Uzbekistan, S Tadjikistan) and N Afghanistan.
  • iranica Zarudny, 1911 - E Iran (E of Tehran) E to SW Afghanistan and W Pakistan (Baluchistan).
  • phoenicuroides (Blyth, 1853) - SE Afghanistan, E Pakistan and adjacent NW India (extreme W Rajasthan).
  •      No sound recordings available yet