Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Calandra Lark (Melanocorypha calandra)


French: Alouette calandre German: Kalanderlerche Spanish: Calandria común

Alauda calandra


, 1766,

Pyrenees, Spain–France border


Geographical variation rather slight, and small clinal increase in size from W to E. Proposed races dathei (SE Turkey) and hollomi (E Turkey) included respectively in gaza and nominate. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. c. calandra (Linnaeus, 1766) – Iberia and France E to S Russia and NW Kazakhstan, S (including Mediterranean islands of Sardinia, Sicily, Cyprus) to NW Africa (N Morocco E to N Libya), Turkey (except SC & SE), Transcaucasia and NW Iran.
  • M. c. hebraica R. Meinertzhagen, 1920 – SC Turkey and adjacent NW Syria S to Israel, Palestine and W Jordan.
  • M. c. gaza R. Meinertzhagen, 1919 – SE Turkey, E Syria, Iraq and SW Iran.
  • M. c. psammochroa E. J. O. Hartert, 1904 – N Iraq and N Iran (Zagros Mts E to Khorasan) E to Turkmenistan and S & E Kazakhstan. Partially migratory in winter to S Iran.
  • Descriptive notes

    18–20 cm; male c. 54–73 g, female 44–66 g. Large, quite robust lark with deep-based heavy bill markedly downcurved on culmen, rather long broad-based wings... read more


    Song, usually in flight but sometimes from ground, an extended medley of rolling trills mixed with... read more


    Open plains, from steppes and pastures to extensive dry cereal cultivations; true steppe, with... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly insects during spring, and seeds and shoots in winter. Wide variety of invertebrates, dominated by grasshoppers (Acrididae) and... read more


    Laying from early Apr to Jul (groups of males arrive in breeding areas in Feb–Mar); two broods per season. Monogamous. Solitary and... read more


    Mediterranean populations chiefly resident, but outside breeding season wandering in flocks. E... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to very common in many parts of range; rare, and declining, in others. In Europe, populations concentrated mainly in Iberia and Russia;... read more

    Recommended citation

    de Juana, E. & Suárez, F. (2020). Calandra Lark (Melanocorypha calandra). 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 22 February 2020).