Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Black Lark (Melanocorypha yeltoniensis)


French: Alouette nègre German: Schwarzsteppenlerche Spanish: Calandria negra

Alauda yeltoniensis

J. R. Forster

, 1768,

#R, Lake El’ton, south-west Russia




SW Russia and N Kazakhstan from just W of R Volga E to L Zaysan, and S to N shores of Caspian Sea, Aral Sea and just N of L Balkhash. Winters S to Black Sea region, Caucasus, N Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and S Kazakhstan.

Descriptive notes

Male c. 20 cm, 56–76 g; female c. 19 cm, 51–68 g. Heavy-bodied lark with rather large bill, quite short tail and fairly broad wings. Adult male is unmistakable:... read more


Song, from ground or, preferably, low perch such as bush, or in flight, a sustained rapid... read more


Steppe (with e.g. Artemisia, Stipa, Festuca), preferably with some... read more

Food and feeding

Invertebrates and seeds. Diet in summer reported as mainly invertebrates, especially orthopterans and adult and larval beetles (Coleoptera... read more


Season late Mar to Aug, starting at least one month earlier in S than in N; number of broods uncertain, but length of season suggests that... read more


Resident or short-distance migrant; probably also to some extent nomadic. Some move S or SW,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common. No accurate figures for population; possibly 6000–10,000 pairs estimated in Russia. Has apparently decreased... read more

Recommended citation

Alström, P. (2020). Black Lark (Melanocorypha yeltoniensis). 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 16 February 2020).