Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Dusky Lark (Pinarocorys nigricans)


French: Alouette brune German: Drossellerche Spanish: Alondra oscura

Alauda nigricans


, 1850,

Aapies River, Pretoria, South Africa


Previously treated as conspecific with P. erythropygia. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. n. occidentis Clancey, 1968 – SW DRCongo and N Angola; migrates S as far as Namibia.
  • P. n. nigricans (Sundevall, 1850) – SE DRCongo, SW Tanzania and NW Zambia; migrates S as far as South Africa and Mozambique.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–20 cm; male 30–46 g, female 31–41 g. Large, slender, thrush-like lark with striking facial pattern, very dark upper­parts and boldly streaked breast... read more


    Male song, in flight, a rather tuneless, burry “zhreeep” or “drree-up”.


    Breeds in miombo woodland and Uapaca savanna, typically where there is rather little... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly insects, a few seeds. Insect prey include both worker and alate termites (Isoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), grasshoppers (Acrididae)... read more


    Breeds in dry season, Aug–Oct. Singing male displays over territory of c. 2·5 ha. Nest a deep cavity, probably excavated by the bird... read more


    Inter-African migrant. After breeding in C Africa in Jul–Oct dry season, disperses S & E... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common; numbers vary from one year to another in some areas. Rather irregular in many parts of non-breeding range. Despite early reports of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2020). Dusky Lark (Pinarocorys nigricans). 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 25 February 2020).