Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Melodious Lark (Mirafra cheniana)


French: Alouette mélodieuse German: Spottlerche Spanish: Alondra melodiosa

Mirafra cheniana

A. Smith

, 1843,

no locality = Latakoo, northern South Africa


See M. passerina. Monotypic.


C Zimbabwe and E South Africa.

Descriptive notes

12 cm. Small, fairly compact lark with distinct pale supercilium contrasting with brown ear-coverts. Crown and upper­parts are buffy brown, streaked darker brown; flight-... read more


Male song, typically delivered in protracted aerial display but also from low perch (including... read more


Grassland slopes; avoids wetter lowlands. Prefers more open grassland, with open spaces between... read more

Food and feeding

Seeds, mostly of grasses, also some insects. Feeds on ground.


Sept–Mar (mainly Nov–Jan) in South Africa and Jan–Mar in Zimbabwe. Probably ­monogamous and territorial; in favoured... read more


Apparently largely resident, but seasonal fluctuations in numbers may indicate some movement;... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Restricted to well-managed grasslands, and hence patchily distributed, with estimated maximum range of 110,000 km2. Range has... read more

Recommended citation

Ryan, P. (2020). Melodious Lark (Mirafra cheniana). 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 23 January 2020).