Ammomanes deserti (*)
Ammomanes deserti (Lichtenstein, 1823)
The Desert Lark, Ammomanes deserti, breeds in deserts and semi-deserts from the Sahara east through the Arabian peninsula and the Middle East to Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It is resident apart from local movements in arid stony areas, and avoids flat sand. Its nest is on the ground in a rock crevice or amongst stones, with 3-4 eggs being laid. The food of the Desert Lark is seeds and insects, the latter especially in the breeding season.
This is a small lark at 15 – 16.5 cm length. It is sand-coloured above and pale pinkish grey below, with a thick yellow-based bill. The tail is reddish brown with a diffuse dark terminal band.
The sexes are alike, but there is considerable geographical variation. For example, A. d. payni of southern Morocco is greyer above than nominate deserti, and has orange flanks. A. d. annae of north Jordan has dark grey upperparts, head and breast.
The song is a mournful choo-wee-chacha wooee. Desert Lark is otherwise a quiet bird.
* BirdLife International (2004). Ammomanes deserti. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
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