2017. They are mainly brown-grey above and pale below, with a striking black and yellow face pattern. As ground nesters, Horned Larks and their eggs and young are vulnerable to predation by birds and by mammals—including meadow voles, shrews, deer mice, weasels, skunks, and raccoons. On the ground, battling males strike at each other with extended wings. Sibley, D. A. There is also an isolated population on a plateau in Colombia. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. Two to four days after preparing the site, she begins weaving her nest from grass, small roots, shredded cornstalks, and other plant material, then lines it with down, fur, feathers, fine rootlets, even lint and string. During the breeding season, males defend turf against intruding males, and females occasionally repel intruding females. Habitat. Horned Larks breed in a wide range of habitats, so it’s helpful to have information for our population and how it compares to populations breeding in alpine, desert, or grassland environments. The European population consists of 2,140,000-6,510,000 pairs, which equates to 4,280,000-13,000,000 mature individuals. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 120 million, with 62% spending some part of the year in the U.S., 17% in Canada, and 9% wintering in Mexico. Streaked horned larks are endemic to lowland habitats west of the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest (i.e. Except for the central feathers, the tail is mostly black, contrasting with the paler body; this contrast is especially noticeable when the bird is in flight. They are mainly brown-grey above and pale below, with a striking black and yellow face pattern. The nest cavity diameter is about 3–4 inches; the inside nest diameter is about 2.5 inches and its depth about 1.5 inches. She weaves fines grasses, cornstalks, small roots, and other plant material and lines it with down, fur, feathers, and occasionally lint. Horned Larks favor bare, dry ground and areas of short, sparse vegetation; they avoid places where grasses grow more than a couple of inches high. If she is followed, she walks rapidly away from the nest before flying. The species rates a 9 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Horned Larks favor bare, dry ground and areas of short, sparse vegetation; they avoid places where grasses grow more than a couple of inches high. Courting is composed of the male singing to the female while flying above her in circles. The streaked horned lark nests on the ground in sparsely vegetated sites dominated by grasses and forbs. Chicks may also be fed invertebrates such as sowbugs and earthworms. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Eremophila alpestris. Version 2.07.2017. Species assessment database, version 2012 2012 [cited 11 March 2016. Available from http://rmbo.org/pifassessment. Horned Lark on The IUCN Red List site -, ascension, chattering, exaltation, happiness, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horned_lark, https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22717434/137693170. They breed in the tundra and alpine habitats, and on seashore flats. During the nestling period, helpless chicks are fed and defended by both parents. In agricultural fields they may pluck and eat sprouting lettuce, wheat, and other crop seedlings. Horned Lark is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List, but the 2014 State of the Birds Report listed it as a Common Bird in Steep Decline. (2014). Back to top. He then will fold his wings in and dive towards the female, opening his wings and landing just before hitting the ground. The "horns" of the Horned lark are in fact little tufts of feathers. Horned larks are birds of wide open spaces with no trees and few or no shrubs. They also eat seeds, fruits, and berries. Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris), version 2.0. Horned larks are diurnal and gregarious; they form large flocks often with other species but during the breeding season they are often seen in pairs or small groups. The horned lark breeds across much of North America from the high Arctic south to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, northernmost Europe and Asia and in the mountains of southeast Europe. Horned Larks walk or run over open ground as they search for seeds and insects. Horned Larks inhabit an extensive elevation range, from sea level to an altitude of 13,000 feet. The female Horned Lark selects a nest site on bare ground, apparently with no help from her mate. (2014). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. Lutmerding, J. There is also an isolated population on a plateau in Colombia. Horned Lark. They communicate with the help of high-pitched, lisping or tinkling sounds. In North America, where there are no other larks to compete with, they can also be found on farmland, on prairies, in deserts, on golf courses and airports. Loss of agricultural fields to reforestation and development, and human encroachment on the birds’ habitat, are factors in their decline—but the overall declining trend is not fully understood. Avian Conservation Assessment Database. Horned larks are hard to see because they blend with their environment and become inconspicuous. It is mainly resident in the south of its range, but northern populations of this passerine bird are migratory, moving further south in winter. On hot days, foraging individuals follow the shade of tall objects such as power poles and fence posts; females stand over the nest with wings held away from their bodies to shade eggs and chicks from the sun.Back to top, Horned Larks are numerous but their populations declined by over 2% per year between 1966 and 2015, resulting in a cumulative decline of 71%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris), version 1.0. Link (2017). their range is entirely in this area) (Altman 2011). North America has a number of races distinguished by the face pattern and back color of males, especially in summer. During the breeding season, they become very territorial. The Horned Lark has a global distribution, but in Canada, it occupies a variety of treeless environments, from seaside barrens to mountain peaks, arctic tundra to prairie pastures. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). At high altitudes and latitudes, Horned Larks forage on snowfields in the late afternoon, though they mostly feed in areas free of snow.Back to top, Horned Larks eat seeds and insects. Insect prey are mainly grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars. Listen +9 more audio recordings. A nesting female conceals her location by leaving the nest stealthily and flying silently near the ground; she is reluctant to return while potential predators lurk nearby. They are able to fly at 16-18 days old and reach the adult size at about one month. A clutch usually consists of 2-5 gray eggs with brown spots. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA. Back to top. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA. The southern European mountain race is greyer above, and the yellow of the face pattern is replaced with white. Version 1019 Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2019. They feed their nestlings mostly insects, which provide the protein the young birds need to grow. 2. (2019). Horned larks are serially monogamous and pairs stay together for one season. POWERED BY MERLIN. Horned larks are philopatric and after every migration, they always return to their birthplace. North American Bird Conservation Initiative. Horned larks breed across much of North America from the high Arctic south to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, northernmost Europe, and Asia and in the mountains of south-east Europe. Overall, currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing. Horned Larks also frequent areas cleared by humans, such as plowed fields and mowed expanses around airstrips. Identification. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.horlar.01 Horned larks are threatened by the loss of habitat due to agricultural pesticides, urbanization, and human encroachment. According to the IUCN Red List, the total Horned lark population size is more than 140,000,000 individuals. She will spend 2-4 days preparing the site before building her nest. 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List. Incubation takes 10-12 days until hatching and then the nestling period will take 8-10 days. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA. A. and A. S. Love. Passeriformes > Alaudidae. Partners in Flight (2017). Common habitats include prairies, deserts, tundra, beaches, dunes, and heavily grazed pastures.
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