Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Critically Endangered

Liben Lark (Heteromirafra archeri)


French: Alouette d’Archer German: Somalispornlerche Spanish: Alondra de Archer
Other common names: Archer's Lark, Sidamo Lark (sidamoensis)

Heteromirafra archeri

S. R. Clarke

, 1920,

Jifa, 5000 feet [c. 1525 m], Somalia


Sister to H. ruddi#R. Morphological, vocal and genetic analysis recently demonstrated that form sidamoensis, treated as a species in HBW, belongs in present species, and may not even be subspecifically distinct; a new population in E Ethiopia simultaneously shown also to belong to nominate#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. a. archeri S. R. Clarke, 1920 – Wajale Plain in NW Somalia (not recorded since 1922#R) and Jijiga Plain in adjacent Ethiopia#R.
  • H. a. sidamoensis Érard, 1975 – Liben Plain SE of Negele Borana, in S Ethiopia.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–16 cm; 30 g (race sidamoensis). Peculiar short-tailed, large-headed lark with extremely long hind claw. Has pale median crownstripe, broad creamy... read more


    Vocalizations of nominate race unknown. Song of male of race sidamoensis is a series of... read more


    Nominate race found in open grassland at one site (between Jifa and Ban Wujaleh); at other, 100 km... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet unknown, but adults have been observed apparently carrying caterpillars to young in a nest. Often stands upright, but when disturbed... read more


    Little known and most data pertain to race sidamoensis. Nominate breeds in Jun. Display of race sidamoensis mainly... read more


    Probably resident.

    Status and conservation

    CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. In 2013 H. sidamoensis was shown to be conspecific with H. archeri. Both populations were considered Critically Endangered and,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P., de Juana, E., Sharpe, C.J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Liben Lark (Heteromirafra archeri). 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 November 2019).