Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Masked Lark (Spizocorys personata)


French: Alouette masquée German: Maskenlerche Spanish: Alondra enmascarada

Spizocorys personata


, 1895,

Sassabana, Milmil, Ogaden, Ethiopia


Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. p. personata Sharpe, 1895 – E Ethiopia.
  • S. p. yavelloensis#R (Benson, 1947) – S Ethiopia and N Kenya (S to Dida Galgalu Desert).
  • S. p. mcchesneyi (J. G. Williams, 1957) – Marsabit Plateau, in N Kenya.
  • S. p. intensa (Rothschild, 1931) – C Kenya.
  • Descriptive notes

    15 cm; 20 g. Smallish, dark lark with heavy, pinkish bill, distinctive black facial markings. Nominate race has black mask from base of bill to area around eye and extending... read more


    Call, given on ground or in flight, described as rolling “chew-chi chew, chew”, “tew tew tutew tew... read more


    Arid plains on black or red lava and black-cotton soils. Prefers areas with little shrub or grass... read more

    Food and feeding

    Grass seeds, bulbs and corms; also some insects, including grasshopper (Acrididae) egg cases. Feeds on the ground; presumably used heavy... read more


    One specimen with well-developed egg in oviduct in Jul. No other information.


    Poorly known; presumably resident and locally nomadic.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common. Poorly known species; fieldwork required in order to ascertain details of breeding biology and ecology. Occurs in several protected... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2019). Masked Lark (Spizocorys personata). 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 14 December 2019).