Larks (Alaudidae)

Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis) - HBW 9, p. 598

French: Alouette des champs German: Feldlerche Spanish: Alondra Común
Other common names: Skylark, Common/European/Northern Skylark; Japanese Skylark (japonica)

Taxonomy: Alauda arvensis Linnaeus, 1758, Europe = Sweden.
May form a superspecies with A. gulgula, and has been considered conspecific. Race japonica sometimes considered a race of that species owing to similarities in plumage and structure; alternatively, treated by many as a separate species on grounds of constant differences in plumage and apparent sympatric breeding with race lonnbergi of present species in Sakhalin, but limits of E taxa disputed by others; further study required. Large number of races described, but distributions and geographical boundaries poorly understood, obscured by considerable individual variation wi.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Alauda arvensis Linnaeus, 1758, Europe = Sweden.
May form a superspecies with A. gulgula, and has been considered conspecific. Race japonica sometimes considered a race of that species owing to similarities in plumage and structure; alternatively, treated by many as a separate species on grounds of constant differences in plumage and apparent sympatric breeding with race lonnbergi of present species in Sakhalin, but limits of E taxa disputed by others; further study required. Large number of races described, but distributions and geographical boundaries poorly understood, obscured by considerable individual variation within populations, also by intergradation, and most taxa identifiable only by comparing series of specimens at same stage of plumage wear; validity of some generally accepted taxa remains questionable. Other proposed races sometimes recognized include ticehursti (NW Iberia), included in guillelmi; dementieva (SE of Caspian Sea), in dulcivox; alticola (SE Altai), in kiborti; nigrescens (Amur Basin), in intermedia; and buxtoni (NE coast of Sea of Okhotsk), in pekinensis. Thirteen subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • scotica Tschusi, 1903 - NW Europe (Faeroe Is, N & W Scotland, Ireland, NW England).
  • arvensis Linnaeus, 1758 - N, W & C Europe (E to W side of Urals).
  • guillelmi Witherby, 1921 - NW Spain and N Portugal.

     See all 13 subspecies
  • scotica Tschusi, 1903 - NW Europe (Faeroe Is, N & W Scotland, Ireland, NW England).
  • arvensis Linnaeus, 1758 - N, W & C Europe (E to W side of Urals).
  • guillelmi Witherby, 1921 - NW Spain and N Portugal.
  • sierrae Weigold, 1913 - S Portugal and C & S Spain.
  • cantarella Bonaparte, 1850 - S Europe from NE Spain E, including Mediterranean islands, to C & N Turkey and Caucasus.
  • harterti Whitaker, 1904 - NW Africa.
  • armenica Bogdanov, 1879 - SE Turkey and Transcaucasia E to N Iran.
  • dulcivox Hume, 1872 - breeds SE European Russia and W Siberia, S to N Kazakhstan, NW China (Xinjiang) and SW Mongolia.
  • intermedia Swinhoe, 1863 - breeds NC Siberia from basin of R Vilyuy and middle R Lena E to R Kolyma basin, S to NE China and Korea.
  • kiborti Zaliesski, 1917 - breeds Altai E to Transbaikalia, N & E Mongolia and NW Manchuria.
  • pekinensis Swinhoe, 1863 - breeds NE Siberia (from upper R Indigirka) E to Koryakland and S to Kamchatka and N Kuril Is.
  • lonnbergi Hachisuka, 1926 - breeds N Sakhalin, Shantar Is (in SW Sea of Okhotsk), possibly also lower Amur Basin.
  • japonica Temminck & Schlegel, 1848 - S Sakhalin, S Kurils, Japan and Ryukyu Is.