Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Black-eared Sparrow-lark (Eremopterix australis)


French: Moinelette à oreillons noirs German: Schwarzwangenlerche Spanish: Terrera orejinegra

Megalotis australis

A. Smith

, 1836,

Colesberg, Orange River, Northern Cape, South Africa


Typically considered to be an outlier within Eremopterix, because of its unusual plumage; its basal position within the genus has recently been confirmed molecularly#R. Monotypic.


S Namibia (S from N Namaqualand), extreme SW Botswana (Kalahari-Gemsbok National Park) and W half of South Africa (Great Karoo).

Descriptive notes

12–13 cm; 12–16 g. Small, sexually dimorphic lark resembling a finch (Fringillidae). Adult male is highly distinctive; has black head, neck and underparts; rest... read more


Male song a short twitter, given mostly from ground; usual song in aerial display a simple series... read more


Shrubland and grassland, often in association with Rhigozum shrub patches, in the Karoo... read more

Food and feeding

Primarily grass seeds, but also some forbs and Lycium fruits; also insects, including termites (Isoptera), beetles (Coleoptera),... read more


Nesting recorded in all months; breeds opportunistically after rain, requires at least 40 mm of rain to stimulate widespread breeding; in N... read more


Nomadic, moving in response to rainfall events. Occurrence, however, quite predictable in certain... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common, even locally abundant when conditions favourable. Most abundant in Nama Karoo and on Namaqualand coastal plain; patchily distributed in S... read more

Recommended citation

Ryan, P. (2020). Black-eared Sparrow-lark (Eremopterix australis). 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 20 February 2020).