Larks (Alaudidae)

Lesser Short-toed Lark (Calandrella rufescens) - HBW 9, p. 585

French: Alouette pispolette German: Stummellerche Spanish: Terrera Marismeña
Other common names: Common/Rufous Short-toed Lark/Sand Lark; Asian/Eastern/Mongolian Short-toed/Grey Short-toed Lark, Lesser Sand Lark (E races)

Taxonomy: A[lauda] rufescens Vieillot, 1820, Tenerife, Canary Islands.
May form a superspecies with C. somalica, until recently considered conspecific, and C. raytal; has sometimes been considered conspecific also with latter, but considerable differences in morphology, song and habitat choice. Was in the past sometimes referred to as C. pispoletta; that name has priority, but uncertain whether it applies to present species or to another member of the group. Geographical variation marked and complex; E races often treated as a separate species “C. cheleensis”, largely on grounds of apparent overlap of races heinei and le.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: A[lauda] rufescens Vieillot, 1820, Tenerife, Canary Islands.
May form a superspecies with C. somalica, until recently considered conspecific, and C. raytal; has sometimes been considered conspecific also with latter, but considerable differences in morphology, song and habitat choice. Was in the past sometimes referred to as C. pispoletta; that name has priority, but uncertain whether it applies to present species or to another member of the group. Geographical variation marked and complex; E races often treated as a separate species “C. cheleensis”, largely on grounds of apparent overlap of races heinei and leucophaea in region from Turkmenistan to S Kazakhstan, but not clear which taxa should be included within it, usually those E from Turkmenistan, although some authors have included races from as far W as Ukraine (heinei) and C Turkey (niethammeri); further study needed. Race tangutica sometimes merged with kukunoorensis, and stegmanni with beicki. Birds from Transbaikalia named as race obscura, but indistinguishable from cheleensis; others from Tuva Republic and NW Mongolia described as tuvinica, synonymized with seebohmi but possibly a valid race; aharonii (described from wintering specimens in C Syria) is probably a synonym of persica. Sixteen subspecies currently ­recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • rufescens (Vieillot, 1820) - Tenerife, in WC Canary Is.
  • polatzeki Hartert, 1904 - E Canary Is (Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote).
  • apetzii (A. E. Brehm, 1857) - S Portugal and S & E Spain.

     See all 16 subspecies
  • rufescens (Vieillot, 1820) - Tenerife, in WC Canary Is.
  • polatzeki Hartert, 1904 - E Canary Is (Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote).
  • apetzii (A. E. Brehm, 1857) - S Portugal and S & E Spain.
  • minor (Cabanis, 1851) - N Africa (from S Morocco E to NW Egypt) and from S Turkey S to N Sinai Peninsula and E to C Iraq.
  • nicolli Hartert, 1909 - Nile Delta (N Egypt).
  • heinei (Homeyer, 1873) - breeds Ukraine E to E Kazakhstan (Semipalatinsk region), S to Aral Sea and Syr Darya Valley.
  • leucophaea Severtsov, 1873 - breeds Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan (S of Kyzyl Kum) and SE Kazakhstan E to L Balkhash and Fergana Basin.
  • niethammeri Kumerloeve, 1963 - C Turkey (Anatolian High Plateau).
  • pseudobaetica Stegmann, 1932 - E Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and NW Iran.
  • persica (Sharpe, 1890) - E & S Iraq, Iran (except NW) and W & SW Afghanistan.
  • seebohmi (Sharpe, 1890) - S Russia (Tuva), W Mongolia and extreme NW China (Xinjiang, from Tien Shan S to Kashgaria, E to R Khostan).
  • beicki Meise, 1933 - SW Mongolia and bordering areas of N China (Gansu, Ningxia).
  • stegmanni Meise, 1937 - NC China (NW Gansu).
  • kukunoorensis (Przevalski, 1876) - WC China (Qaidam Basin, in N Qinghai).
  • tangutica Hartert & Steinbacher, 1933 - S Qinghai and NE Tibet.
  • cheleensis (Swinhoe, 1871) - Transbaikalia, NE Mongolia and NE China (S Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia S to S Shaanxi and N Jiangsu).