Larks (Alaudidae)

Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) - HBW 9, p. 589

French: Alouette hausse-col German: Ohrenlerche Spanish: Alondra Cornuda
Other common names: Shore Lark; Przewalski’s Lark (teleschowi)

Taxonomy: Alauda alpestris Linnaeus, 1758, coast of South Carolina, USA.
Genus distinct in plumage and structure, particularly bill structure; probably closest, although still distantly related, to Alauda and Galerida. Forms a superspecies with E. bilopha, formerly considered conspecific. Highly variable over vast range, and numerous races described, broadly separable into two main types: all New World races together with Old World flava, brandti and atlas (having black face mask not connected to black breastband), and remaining Old World races (mask usually joining with breastband). Races described mainly on basis of diff.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Alauda alpestris Linnaeus, 1758, coast of South Carolina, USA.
Genus distinct in plumage and structure, particularly bill structure; probably closest, although still distantly related, to Alauda and Galerida. Forms a superspecies with E. bilopha, formerly considered conspecific. Highly variable over vast range, and numerous races described, broadly separable into two main types: all New World races together with Old World flava, brandti and atlas (having black face mask not connected to black breastband), and remaining Old World races (mask usually joining with breastband). Races described mainly on basis of differences in size and in plumage ground colour (at least partly determined by local soil colour) and pattern, but many grade into each other, with many intermediates, and variation thus possibly clinal; some named taxa perhaps not sustainable, but all are listed, with breeding ranges, for sake of completeness; thorough review needed. Race teleschowi sometimes treated as separate species, apparently not interbreeding with other races where ranges overlap. Forty-two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • arcticola (Oberholser, 1902) - Alaska and NW Canada (Yukon S to British Columbia).
  • hoyti (Bishop, 1896) - N Canada (N Baffin I S to N Alberta and W Ontario).
  • alpestris (Linnaeus, 1758) - E Canada (W Ontario E to Newfoundland).

     See all 42 subspecies
  • arcticola (Oberholser, 1902) - Alaska and NW Canada (Yukon S to British Columbia).
  • hoyti (Bishop, 1896) - N Canada (N Baffin I S to N Alberta and W Ontario).
  • alpestris (Linnaeus, 1758) - E Canada (W Ontario E to Newfoundland).
  • merrilli (Dwight, 1890) - W coast of Canada and USA (British Columbia S to N California).
  • strigata (Henshaw, 1884) - coastal S British Colombia and NW USA (S to Oregon).
  • alpina (Jewett, 1943) - extreme NW USA (Olympic Mts and Cascade Range, in W Washington).
  • lamprochroma (Oberholser, 1932) - inland montane W USA (Washington S to N California and E to Nevada).
  • leucolaema Coues, 1874 - SW Canada (S Alberta) S to WC USA (S to Colorado and New Mexico).
  • enthymia (Oberholser, 1902) - Great Plains from SC Canada (Saskatchewan, Manitoba) S in USA to Oklahoma and Texas.
  • praticola (Henshaw, 1884) - E USA (from Minnesota) E to SE Canada (E to Nova Scotia), S to Kansas and N Carolina.
  • sierrae (Oberholser, 1920) - mountains of NE California.
  • rubea (Henshaw, 1884) - C California.
  • utahensis (Behle, 1938) - montane WC USA (Idaho S to C Nevada and Utah ).
  • insularis (Dwight, 1890) - Channel Is, off SW California.
  • actia (Oberholser, 1902) - Coast Ranges of S California and extreme NW Mexico (N Baja California).
  • ammophila (Oberholser, 1902) - Mojave and Amargosa Deserts, in SE California and adjacent SW Nevada.
  • leucansiptila (Oberholser, 1902) - Colorado Desert from SW Nevada and W Arizona S to extreme NW Mexico (NE Baja California, NW Sonora).
  • occidentalis (McCall, 1851) - N Arizona E to C New Mexico.
  • adusta (Dwight, 1890) - S Arizona E to S New Mexico.
  • enertera (Oberholser, 1907) - C Baja California.
  • giraudi (Henshaw, 1884) - coastal S USA (S Texas) S to NE Mexico.
  • aphrasta (Oberholser, 1902) - NW Mexico (S to Durango).
  • lactea A. R. Phillips, 1970 - NE Mexico (Coahuila).
  • diaphora (Oberholser, 1902) - extreme SE Coahuila S to NE Puebla.
  • chrysolaema (Wagler, 1831) - S Mexican Plateau from Zacatecas S to Jalisco, Michoacan, Morelos and Veracruz.
  • oaxacae (Nelson, 1897) - S Mexico (E Oaxaca).
  • peregrina (P. L. Sclater, 1855) - E Andes of Colombia (Altiplano Cundiboyacense, N of Bogotá).
  • flava (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) - N Eurasia E to NE Russia (Anadyrland), S to S Norway, L Baikal and NW Amurland.
  • brandti (Dresser, 1874) - SE European Russia (lower R Volga) and N Transcaspia E to W Manchuria, S to N Turkmenistan, Tien Shan and Mongolia.
  • atlas (Whitaker, 1898) - Morocco (Atlas Mts).
  • balcanica (Reichenow, 1895) - SE Europe (S Balkans and Greece).
  • kumerloevei Roselaar, 1995 - W & C Asia Minor.
  • penicillata (Gould, 1838) - E Turkey and Caucasus E to N & W Iran.
  • bicornis (C. L. Brehm, 1842) - Lebanon and N Israel-S Syria border (Mt Hermon).
  • albigula (Bonaparte, 1850) - SW Turkmenistan and NE Iran E to W Tien Shan and S to NW Pakistan.
  • argalea (Oberholser, 1902) - N Ladakh, extreme W China (W Kun Lun Mts) and W Tibetan Plateau.
  • teleschowi (Przevalski, 1887) - C & E Kun Lun Mts from S Xinjiang E to NW Qinghai and S to N Xizang (W China).
  • przewalskii (Bianchi, 1904) - Qaidam Basin, in N Qinghai.
  • nigrifrons (Przevalski, 1876) - mountains of NE Qinghai.
  • longirostris (F. Moore, 1856) - Himalayas from NE Pakistan and Kashmir E to Sikkim.
  • elwesi (Blanford, 1872) - S & E Tibetan Plateau.
  • khamensis (Bianchi, 1904) - SC China (SE Xizang, W Sichuan).