Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Fawn-coloured Lark (Calendulauda africanoides)


French: Alouette fauve German: Savannenlerche Spanish: Alondra leonada

Mirafra africanoides

A. Smith

, 1836,

eastern Cape Colony (= Colesberg), Northern Cape, South Africa


Formerly placed in Mirafra, but genetic evidence situates it in present genus. Often treated as conspecific with disjunct C. alopex, but differs genetically and morphologically (shorter bill). Geographical variation largely clinal, plumage colour generally matching regional soil colour, and streaking reduced in more arid areas; races broadly intergrade, and further study may reveal that several of those currently accepted are unsustainable; other named races include omaruru, gobabisensis and rubidior (from various parts of NW & NC Namibia), all synonymized with harei, and austinrobertsi (thornveld of Zimbabwe–Botswana–South Africa border region), synonymized with nominate. Six subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. trapnelli (C. M. N. White, 1943) – SE Angola and SW Zambia.
  • C. a. makarikari (Roberts, 1932) – SW Angola, N Namibia and N & C Botswana.
  • C. a. harei (Roberts, 1917) – NW & C Namibia.
  • C. a. sarwensis (Roberts, 1932) – W Botswana.
  • C. a. africanoides (A. Smith, 1836) – S Namibia, S & E Botswana, W Zimbabwe and N & NE South Africa.
  • C. a. vincenti (Roberts, 1938) – C Zimbabwe and S Mozambique.
  • Descriptive notes

    14–16 cm; 21–28 g. Medium-sized lark with broad, long whitish supercilium, contrasting darker ear-coverts bordered pale below, and fairly short, stout pale horn-... read more


    Typical song a rapid, accelerating series of rather high-pitched, scratchy notes lasting 3–4... read more


    Typically on sandy soils in semi-arid savanna and more mesic broadleaf woodland.

    Food and feeding

    Insects and seeds. Grass seeds make up 54% of seeds consumed in the Karoo. Forages on ground, often digging in soft sand with its bill.


    Mostly in Sept–Apr, with peak in Nov–Feb, but breeding can occur at any time, especially in arid W, where triggered by rainfall... read more


    Largely resident; some local movements indicated by records of pale birds (from the Kalahari) in E... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common and fairly widespread in much of range; more local in E. Densities of up to 1 individual/ha in the Kalahari, but only 1 bird/40 ha in ... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2019). Fawn-coloured Lark (Calendulauda africanoides). 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 November 2019).