Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)

Crested Lark

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Alaudidae | [latin] Galerida cristata | [UK] Crested Lark | [FR] Cochevis huppe | [DE] Haubenlerche | [ES] Cogujada Comun | [NL] Kuifleeuwerik


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Galerida cristata EU, AF widespread
Galerida cristata alexanderi
Galerida cristata altirostris
Galerida cristata apuliae
Galerida cristata arenicola
Galerida cristata balsaci
Galerida cristata brachyura
Galerida cristata carthaginis
Galerida cristata caucasica
Galerida cristata chendoola
Galerida cristata cinnamomina
Galerida cristata coreensis
Galerida cristata cristata
Galerida cristata cypriaca
Galerida cristata festae
Galerida cristata halfae
Galerida cristata helenae
Galerida cristata isabellina
Galerida cristata jordansi
Galerida cristata kleinschmidti
Galerida cristata leautungensis
Galerida cristata lynesi
Galerida cristata maculata
Galerida cristata magna
Galerida cristata meridionalis
Galerida cristata neumanni
Galerida cristata nigricans
Galerida cristata pallida
Galerida cristata riggenbachi
Galerida cristata senegallensis
Galerida cristata somaliensis
Galerida cristata subtaurica
Galerida cristata tenuirostris
Galerida cristata zion

Physical charateristics

17 cm in size with a wingspan of 30-38 cm. Medium sized lark, with long spiky crest on rear crown, portly character on ground stemming most from usually deep belly and rather short tail. Distinctly bulkier about head and body, with rather long, strong bill and rather short, broad tail. Plumage pattern and colors, stronger facial marks, heavy moustaches, more open chest streaks on paler ground, more uniform upperparts and buff outer tail feathers.

Listen to the sound of Crested Lark

[audio: Lark.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 32 cm wingspan max.: 36 cm
size min.: 17 cm size max.: 19 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 13 days
fledging min.: 9 days fledging max.: 13 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


Eurasia, Africa : widespread


Variety of habitats, mainly open areas with sparse vegetation, also cultivated land and other man-made semideserts such as railways, airfields, and wastelands. Where it co-occurs with the Thekla lark, the crested lark occupies the plains, the Thekla inhabits rocky and bushy slopes.


Nest on ground out in the open, or in shelter of low shrub or tussock, also under low bank. The nest is a shallow depression with untidy lining of grass or other vegetation. A new nest is built for each clutch by female only, taking 2-4 days. The 3-5 eggs are smooth and glossy, off-white to grey white,finely spotted and speckled buff-brown and grey. Incubation lasts about 11-13 days and is performed by female only, though male may stand covering the eggs while the female is away from nest.

Feeding habits

Diet is mainly based on plant material and fewer invertebrates in winter. Most food taken from on or below ground surface. Digs with blows of bill to left and right. Will take insects by aerial-pursuit and stripping wings off before eating body.


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.
Galerida cristata is a widespread resident across much of Europe (except the north),
which accounts for less than half of its global range. Its European breeding population
is very large (>3,600,000 pairs), but underwent a moderate decline between 1970-
1990. Although the species was stable overall during 1990-2000-with stable or
increasing trends in south-eastern Europe compensating for declines farther north-
its population has clearly not yet recovered to the level that preceded its decline.
Crested Lark status Least Concern


Largely migratory in north of FSU breeding range. Mainly resident elsewhere; some dispersal occurs, but scale uncertain. Apparently sedentary in North Africa and Middle East, where birds show much subspeciation and adaptation of plumage colour to that of local soils.

Distribution map

Crested Lark distribution range map

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