Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Pink-billed Lark (Spizocorys conirostris)


French: Alouette à bec rose German: Rotschnabellerche Spanish: Alondra piquirrosa

Alauda conirostris


, 1850,

Vetchkop, Free State, South Africa


Previously hypothesized close relationship with S. sclateri refuted by molecular data, which confirm S. fringillaris and S. personata as this species’ nearest relatives#R. Geographical variation broadly clinal; several races possibly unsustainable. Birds from far S of range named as race transiens and others from NE South Africa as griseovinacea, both of which seem indistinguishable from nominate. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. c. makawai (Traylor, 1962) – W Zambia (Liuwa and Mutala Plains).
  • S. c. harti (Benson, 1964) – SW Zambia (Matabele Plain).
  • S. c. damarensis Roberts, 1922 – N Namibia and NW Botswana; probably S Angola#R.
  • S. c. crypta (Irwin, 1957) – NE Botswana (Makgadikgadi Pan and L Dow).
  • S. c. barlowi Roberts, 1942 – S Namibia, S Botswana and NW South Africa (Northern Cape).
  • S. c. conirostris (Sundevall, 1850) – South Africa (Northwest Province E to Mpumalanga and W KwaZulu-Natal, S to Free State and Eastern Cape) and NW Lesotho.
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; 12–17 g. Fairly small, compact lark with short, stout, pinkish bill. Nominate race has broad buffy to whitish supercilium, contrasting dark eyestripe... read more


    Flight call a dry, trilled “chree chree”, higher-pitched than that of Calandrella... read more


    Ranges from moist submontane grassland to semi-arid Nama Karoo and Kalahari grassland and savanna.... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly seeds, some insects. Forages on the ground, singly or in pairs; in small flocks outside breeding season. Walks with bent legs,... read more


    Mostly Nov–Jun, in association with summer rains, generally later in NW (where onset of rains delayed); in arid W breeding... read more


    Nomadic in arid W, following rain events with other granivorous species. Largely resident or... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common in S, becoming more sporadic in N. Non-breeding flocks small. Lives in transformed habitats as well as natural ones.

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2020). Pink-billed Lark (Spizocorys conirostris). 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).