Larks (Alaudidae)

Rufous-naped Lark (Mirafra africana) - HBW 9, p. 551

French: Alouette à nuque rousse German: Rotnackenlerche Spanish: Alondra Nuquirrufa
Other common names: (Red) Somali Lark, Somali Bushlark (sharpii)

Taxonomy: Mirafra africana A. Smith, 1836, Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
May form a superspecies with M. hypermetra, possibly also including M. somalica. Sometimes considered conspecific with former, but the two are morphologically and vocally distinct, with no intermediate forms where their ranges meet in Kenya and N Tanzania. Geographical variation extreme, and future studies likely to reveal that several races, especially among isolated populations in W, C & NE Africa, should be treated as separate species; likely candidates for future splits include malbranti, which has a quite distinct aerial display and may be more closely related to.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Mirafra africana A. Smith, 1836, Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
May form a superspecies with M. hypermetra, possibly also including M. somalica. Sometimes considered conspecific with former, but the two are morphologically and vocally distinct, with no intermediate forms where their ranges meet in Kenya and N Tanzania. Geographical variation extreme, and future studies likely to reveal that several races, especially among isolated populations in W, C & NE Africa, should be treated as separate species; likely candidates for future splits include malbranti, which has a quite distinct aerial display and may be more closely related to M. angolensis, and sharpii, which has distinctive plumage; conversely, differences among many contiguous races are broadly clinal, and further study may reveal that several taxa are untenable; full review required. Other described races, all considered insufficiently distinct, include anchietae (Huíla, in SW Angola), irwini (Cuando Cubango, in SE Angola), zuluensis (Maputa, in NE KwaZulu-Natal) and rostrata (coastal SE South Africa). Twenty-three subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • henrici Bates, 1930 - SE Guinea, N Sierra Leone, N Liberia and extreme W Ivory Coast.
  • batesi Bannerman, 1923 - SE Niger, W Chad and C (possibly also NE) Nigeria.
  • bamendae Serle, 1959 - W Cameroon, possibly also adjacent E Nigeria.

     See all 23 subspecies
  • henrici Bates, 1930 - SE Guinea, N Sierra Leone, N Liberia and extreme W Ivory Coast.
  • batesi Bannerman, 1923 - SE Niger, W Chad and C (possibly also NE) Nigeria.
  • bamendae Serle, 1959 - W Cameroon, possibly also adjacent E Nigeria.
  • stresemanni Bannerman, 1923 - C Cameroon (Adamawa Plateau).
  • kurrae Lynes, 1923 - W Sudan.
  • sharpii Elliot, 1897 - NW Somalia.
  • malbranti Chapin, 1946 - E Gabon, SC PRCongo and adjacent SW DRCongo.
  • ruwenzoria Kinnear, 1921 - E DRCongo and SW Uganda.
  • tropicalis Hartert, 1900 - E Uganda, SW Kenya and NW Tanzania.
  • athi Hartert, 1900 - C Kenya and N Tanzania.
  • harterti Neumann, 1908 - S Kenya.
  • occidentalis (Hartlaub, 1857) - W Angola.
  • kabalii C. M. N. White, 1943 - E Angola (Lunda Sul and N Moxico) and NW Zambia (Balovale).
  • gomesi C. M. N. White, 1944 - E Angola (E Moxico) and W Zambia (Kabompo).
  • chapini C. H. B. Grant & Mackworth-Praed, 1939 - SE DRCongo and NW Zambia.
  • nyikae Benson, 1939 - NE Zambia, adjacent SW Tanzania and N Malawi.
  • nigrescens Reichenow, 1900 - S Tanzania (Kitulu Plateau).
  • isolata Clancey, 1956 - SE Malawi.
  • pallida Sharpe, 1902 - S Angola (SW Cuando Cubango) and N Namibia.
  • ghansiensis (Roberts, 1932) - E Namibia and W Botswana.
  • grisescens Sharpe, 1902 - N Botswana, W Zambia and NW Zimbabwe.
  • transvaalensis Hartert, 1900 - S Tanzania and Mozambique S to N South Africa.
  • africana A. Smith, 1836 - SE South Africa.