Calandra Lark (Melanocorypha calandra)

Calandra Lark

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Alaudidae | [latin] Melanocorypha calandra | [UK] Calandra Lark | [FR] Alouette calandre | [DE] Kalanderlerche | [ES] Calandria comun | [NL] Kalanderleeuwerik


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Melanocorypha calandra EU sw, also n Africa
Melanocorypha calandra calandra
Melanocorypha calandra gaza
Melanocorypha calandra hebraica
Melanocorypha calandra psammochroa

Physical charateristics

The calandra lark is a large, robust, heavy-billed lark, with large wing area but no crest. Upperparts essentially brown and well streaked, underparts off-white and little streaked with large black patches on sides of upper breast. Face dominated by heavy, rather conical bill and quite prominent buff-white supercilium and eye-ring. White trailing edge emphasizes almost black underwing and the tail has white outer feathers.

Listen to the sound of Calandra Lark

[audio: Lark.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 37 cm wingspan max.: 40 cm
size min.: 17 cm size max.: 19 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 18 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 5  


Eurasia : Southwest, also North Africa


This lark is found in lower to middle latitudes in subtropical and Mediterranean areas Also found on steppe and temperate, on open lowland plains and upland plateaux. Avoids rocky, gravelly, saline, and other dry lands, but tolerates low and uncertain rainfall and regular summer heat up to 32 degrees C. Essentially a steppe bird. Occurs primarily on grasslands, ranging from virgin steppe to cultivated crops, areas of profuse mixed herbage, and even water- meadows. Sometimes occurs among shrubs, bushes, or even well scattered low trees.


The nest is build by both sexes on the ground, under tussock. it is a shallow depression, lined with grass stems and leaves and inner lining of softer vegetation. Laying begins late March to early June (depending on location, the more east the earlier).The species has 2 broods with a Clutch size of 4-5, sporadically 3 or 6. The incubation lasts for about 16 days by female, but brood patch also observed in several male. Fledging period uncertain but young fed in nest for about 10 days.

Feeding habits

In summer the calandra lark feeds largely on insects, and to a lesser degree plant material.In winter mostly seeds and grass shoots. Runs during feeding, taking items from ground. Digs for pupae and larvae with bill and can use it to crack frozen snow crust. Occasionally flies up to inspect tops of bushes from the air.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
This lark inhabits steppes and cereal cultivation in North Africa, southern Europe, the Near and Middle East. Birds of southern and south-western Europe are largely sedentary, but those of Eastern Europe winter in the Mediterranean regions. The population of the European Union is estimated at 1-3.5 millions of breeding pairs, 95% of which inhabit Spain.
Calandra Lark status Least Concern


Resident in het verspreidingsgebied, vooral Turkije en Spanje. Ook kliene aantallen in Frankrijk, Italie en de overige mediterrane landen. Zeer zeldzame dwaalgast in West Europa.

Distribution map

Calandra Lark distribution range map

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