• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Crested Lark - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 01:29, 13 August 2023 by Njlarsen (talk | contribs) (includes statement)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Photo © by Chan
Cáceres, Spain

Includes Magreb Lark

Galerida cristata


17–19 cm (6¾-7½ in)

  • Dark streaked grey upperparts
  • White underparts
  • Long spiky erectile crest
  • Reddish underwings

Flight outline shows broad rounded wings and a square tail.

Similar Species

Photo © by Theo Mamais
Thessaloniki, Greece, July 2012

Eurasian Skylark and in Iberia and Africa Thekla Lark


Europe and Asia from Portugal to northeast China and eastern India; Africa to Niger.

Rare vagrant to the British Isles.


Magreb Lark, one of the last two subspecies
Photo © by orniodesigns
Morocco, June 2012


There are 38 subspecies[1]:

Photo © by CannonS2
Israel, June 2009
  • G. c. nigricans: Northern Egypt (Nile Delta)
  • G. c. maculata: Egypt (Nile Valley from Cairo to Aswan and El Faiyum)
  • G. c. halfae: Egypt (Nile Valley south of Aswan) to extreme northern Sudan (Wadi Halfa)
  • G. c. senegallensis: Southern Mauritania, Senegambia and Guinea-Bissau to Niger
  • G. c. jordansi: Northern Niger (Aïr Mountains)
  • G. c. alexanderi (zalingei): Northern Nigeria to western Sudan and north-eastern Zaire
  • G. c. isabellina: Central Sudan (Kordofan to Nile Valley)
  • G. c. altirostris: Eastern Sudan (east of Nile Valley) and Eritrea
  • G. c. somaliensis: Northern Somalia, southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya
  • G. c. tardinata: Southern Arabia
  • G. c. chendoola: Foothills of southern Kashmir to east Pakistan, western and northern India and southern Nepal
  • G. c. randonii: Hauts Plateaux of eastern Morocco and north-western Algeria
  • G. c. macrorhyncha: Southern Morocco and north-western Algeria south of Atlas Saharien to west-central Mauritania
Photo © by AJDH
Badaan Farm, Bahrain, March 2007

Subspecies macrorhyncha (and including randonii) was formerly accepted as full species Maghreb Lark.


Open, dry country and cultivated land. Breeds on railway lines, harbours and industrial sites.

  • Specifically for Iberia:
    • Fine soils or sand
    • Sand dunes, Dry saltmarsh edges and humanised habitats like farmland, dusty car parks and tracks.
    • Percentage of woody vegetation cover usually very low and including substantial amount of bare ground. Can be near trees, these often Olive, Figs, Citrus, Carob or Almond.
    • Often occurring in small niches of suitable habitats


Shuffling gait when feeding.


Rather 'heavy' and flapping action with marked undulations.


It is a ground nester. The clutch consists of 2-3 eggs.


The diet includes weed seeds and insects.


The long flight song can be difficult to separate from Thekla Lark

Recording © by Alok Tewari
Dist. Gurgaon, Haryana, India, Feb-2013
Long call containing a variety of notes given by an individual perched on an excavated-earth mound.


Click images to see larger version


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.2). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
  4. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6
  5. Birdforum thread on habitat
  6. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1