Lesser Short-toed Lark (Calandrella rufescens)

Lesser Short-toed Lark

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Alaudidae | [latin] Calandrella rufescens | [UK] Lesser Short-toed Lark | [FR] Calandrelle pispolette | [DE] Stummellerche | [ES] Terrera marismena | [NL] Kleine Kortteenleeuwerik


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Calandrella rufescens EU s, also n Africa
Calandrella rufescens apetzii
Calandrella rufescens heinei
Calandrella rufescens minor
Calandrella rufescens nicolli
Calandrella rufescens polatzeki
Calandrella rufescens pseudobaetica
Calandrella rufescens rufescens

Physical charateristics

Small lark with very similar character to Short-toed Lark but differing from adult of that species in more heavily streaked and browner upperparts and chest. Lacks discrete dark marks at shoulder; pale supercilia fully join over bill, forming pale forehead.

Listen to the sound of Lesser Short-toed Lark

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/L/Lesser Short-toed Lark.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 24 cm wingspan max.: 32 cm
size min.: 13 cm size max.: 14 cm
incubation min.: 13 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 9 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


Eurasia : South, also North Africa


This Lark breeds in middle latitudes, continental steppe, Mediterranean area and semi-desert zones, overlapping widely with Short-toed Lark. The Lesser short-toed Lark prefers sandy or silty ground with low to medium shrub cover. The short-toed Lark and Lesser short-toed Lark hardly compete nesting or feeding areas. The latter seems to prefer barer, poorer, drier, more saline, or more clayey or gravelly sites than Short-toed Lark.


Nest is build on ground in shelter of tussock. Nest consists of shallow scrape, lined with vegetation. breeding starts fromMmarch to early June. 2 to 3 eggs are laid. only the females incubate and they are not fed by the males. The chicks are cared for and fed by both parents, and fledgling care appears to be undertaken by the males while the females lay further clutches. The chicks remain in the nest for about 8 days. Larks normally have a long period of post-fledging care (about 1 month in most of the species).

Feeding habits

Largely insects in summer, more seeds in spring and autumn, and presumably largely seeds in winter.


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.
Calandrella rufescens breeds in Iberia and the Canary Islands as well as parts of
south-east of Europe, which accounts for less than half of its global breeding range.
Its European breeding population is very large (>1,600,000 pairs), but underwent a
large decline between 1970-1990. Although the comparatively small populations in
Portugal and the Caucasus were stable during 1990-2000, the species continued to
decline across most of its European range, and underwent a moderate decline (>10%)
Lesser Short-toed Lark status Least Concern


Resident to dispersive (nomadic) in western parts of range, dispersive to migratory in centre and east. Mainly migratory over much of USSR breeding range; winters only in small numbers in Eruslan steppes, and around Chkalov winters only in milder years, but resident and nomadic in Soviet Central Asia.
Resident and winter visitor in Saudi Arabia, though evidently nomadic in arid centre where it breeds only in years when conditions suitable; more numerous and widespread outside breeding season, especially in passage periods, September-November and February-March

Distribution map

Lesser Short-toed Lark distribution range map

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