Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Large-billed Lark (Galerida magnirostris)


French: Cochevis à gros bec German: Dickschnabellerche Spanish: Cogujada picogorda

Alauda magnirostris


, 1826,

near Cape Town, South Africa


Has sometimes been placed in monospecific Calendula. See G. modesta. Geographical variation largely clinal, with clines of increasing body size and decreasing bill size from W to E. Birds from Lesotho sometimes separated as race montivaga, but probably better merged with harei. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. m. sedentaria Clancey, 1993 – Karoo areas of extreme SW Namibia and W South Africa (E to Griqualand West).
  • G. m. magnirostris (Stephens, 1826) – winter rainfall area of SW South Africa.
  • G. m. harei (Roberts, 1924) – W grasslands of South Africa and Lesotho.
  • Descriptive notes

    18 cm; 35–48 g. Large, heavily built, straw-coloured lark with robust bill. Nominate race has fairly prominent creamy-buff to whitish supercilium, narrow dark eyestripe... read more


    Typical song, in flight or from ground or perch, a fast, stereotyped, slightly wheezy “tit-it... read more


    Semi-arid grassland and dwarf shrubland, open coastal scrub, and fields. Most abundant in cereal... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds of grasses, sedges, various forbs and legumes; also insects, including beetles (Coleoptera), caterpillars, cockroaches (Blattodea),... read more


    Breeds chiefly during spring months Aug–Nov, occasionally later (in summer). Monogamous and territorial; pair-members remain together... read more


    Largely resident; has been suggested that it undertakes some altitudinal movements in E of range,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common to very common. Has benefited from agriculture; abundant in cereal croplands in Western Cape. Also benefits from poor agricultural... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2020). Large-billed Lark (Galerida magnirostris). 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 18 February 2020).