Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Flappet Lark (Mirafra rufocinnamomea)


French: Alouette bourdonnante German: Baumklapperlerche Spanish: Alondra aplaudidora canela

Megalophonus rufo-cinnamomeus


, 1865,

north Ethiopia


Differences among many contiguous races broadly clinal; further study may reveal that several taxa are untenable. Birds from S Tanzania S to C Mozambique sometimes separated as race zombae#R, but appear indistinguishable from fischeri. Fifteen subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. r. buckleyi (Shelley, 1873) – Senegambia (locally) and SE Guinea-Bissau E to N Cameroon. Status uncertain in S Mauritania#R.
  • M. r. serlei C. M. N. White, 1960 – SE Nigeria.
  • M. r. tigrina Oustalet, 1892 – E Cameroon, S Central African Republic and N DRCongo; possibly SW South Sudan#R.
  • M. r. furensis Lynes, 1923 – SW Sudan.
  • M. r. sobatensis Lynes, 1914 – NE South Sudan.
  • M. r. rufocinnamomea (Salvadori, 1865) – N & C Ethiopia.
  • M. r. omoensis Neumann, 1928 – SW Ethiopia and possibly adjacent South Sudan#R.
  • M. r. torrida Shelley, 1882 – SE Sudan and S Ethiopia S to N Uganda, C Kenya and N & C Tanzania.
  • M. r. kawirondensis van Someren, 1921 – E DRCongo, S Uganda and W Kenya.
  • M. r. schoutedeni C. M. N. White, 1956 – SW Central African Republic, and Gabon E to W DRCongo and S to NW Angola.
  • M. r. fischeri (Reichenow, 1878) – Angola (except NW) and S DRCongo E to E & S Tanzania, E Kenya and S Somalia, S to N Zambia, Malawi and N Mozambique.
  • M. r. lwenarum C. M. N. White, 1945 – NW Zambia (Balovale).
  • M. r. mababiensis (Roberts, 1932) – SE Angola, W Zambia, N Namibia and N Botswana.
  • M. r. smithersi C. M. N. White, 1956 – SW Zambia, NE Botswana, Zimbabwe and N South Africa.
  • M. r. pintoi C. M. N. White, 1956 – S Mozambique, NE South Africa and Swaziland.
  • Descriptive notes

    14–15 cm; 21–32 g. Fairly small, dark lark with indistinct buff superci­lium, distinctive wing-clapping display-flight. Nominate race is rufous-red above,... read more


    Normal song almost entirely replaced by wing-clapping aerial display; occasionally utters thin,... read more


    Open woodland, savanna, scrubland, and grassy dambos in closed-canopy woodland, usually in mesic... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly insects, including termites (Isoptera), caterpillars, beetles (Coleoptera), grasshoppers (Acrididae) and mantids; also a few grass... read more


    Season May–Oct in W Africa, May–Aug and Nov–Dec in E Africa, and Sept–Mar in C & S Africa. Apparently... read more


    Resident. Pairs remain on territories throughout year.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common throughout much of its wide range. Suitable habitat has undoubtedly been lost to agriculture, because the species avoids fields and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2020). Flappet Lark (Mirafra rufocinnamomea). 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 27 February 2020).