Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Bar-tailed Lark (Ammomanes cinctura)


French: Ammomane élégante German: Sandlerche Spanish: Terrera colinegra

Melanocorypha cinctura


, 1839,

São Tiago, Cape Verde Islands


In the past, has been considered conspecific with A. phoenicura. Paler and smaller birds from Chad (Ennedi) and Sudan sometimes separated as race pallens, but appear indistinguishable from arenicolor. Deep genetic (mitochondrial) divergence reported within arenicolor#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. c. cinctura (Gould, 1839) – Cape Verde Is (São Tiago, Maio, Boavista, Sal).
  • A. c. arenicolor (Sundevall, 1850) – Sahara Desert from S & E Morocco E to Libya (Cyrenaica) and Egypt (including Sinai Peninsula) and S, discontinuously, to W & SE Mauritania, WC Mali, C Niger, N & E Chad and C & NE Sudan; also Middle East (S Israel, Jordan, Iraq) and Arabian Peninsula.
  • A. c. zarudnyi E. J. O. Hartert, 1902 – E Iran E to S Afghanistan and S Pakistan.
  • Descriptive notes

    14 cm; 14–23 g. Small, neat, rather plain lark with relatively small and rounded head, short bill, long primary projection (about half length of tertials), relatively... read more


    Male song, often in aerial display, short whistles, “see-oo-lee” or “cher-ho-hee... read more


    Most desert-adapted lark of Palearctic. Inhabits mainly deserts with less than 100 mm annual... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds, to lesser extent other plant material, and insects. In Cape Verde Is mostly small seeds and grasshoppers (Acrididae); in Western... read more


    Season determined by rainfall; lays Jan–Apr in N Africa, Sept–Jun in Cape Verde Is, depending on dry period; mostly mid-Mar to... read more


    Resident; dispersive winter movements in search of less arid areas recorded in N Africa, especially... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Abundance varies widely within rather large but fragmented range. In Cape Verde Is abundant on Sal, Boavista and Maio, rare on Fogo; in Mauritania... read more

    Recommended citation

    de Juana, E. & Suárez, F. (2020). Bar-tailed Lark (Ammomanes cinctura). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 February 2020).