Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Red-winged Lark (Mirafra hypermetra)


French: Alouette polyglotte German: Riesenlerche Spanish: Alondra alirroja

Spilocorydon hypermetrus


, 1879,

Kibaradja, Tana River, Kenya


Sometimes considered conspecific with M. africana, but the two are morphologically and vocally distinct, with no intermediate forms where their ranges meet in Kenya and N Tanzania. M. somalica perhaps also closely related to these two species, but relationship untested genetically#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. h. gallarum E. J. O. Hartert, 1907 – C Ethiopia (Rift Valley around Awash area).
  • M. h. kathangorensis Cave, 1940 – SW Ethiopia and adjacent SE South Sudan.
  • M. h. kidepoensis Macdonald, 1940 – NE Uganda and adjacent SE South Sudan.
  • M. h. hypermetra (Reichenow, 1879) – Kenya, S Somalia and NE Tanzania.
  • Descriptive notes

    21–23 cm; 44–68 g. Large, robust lark with fairly long, stout bill and long tail; sometimes shows small crest when singing. Nominate race has prominent buffy... read more


    Song loud, far-carrying whistles, in series 1–15 seconds long (mean 3 seconds), same motif... read more


    Savanna and grassland with scattered trees, to 1350 m. Typically in drier habitats and at lower... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including termites (Isoptera), also some seeds. Feeds on ground; occasionally jumps into air in pursuit of flying insects.


    Breeds in Nov–Jan in E Africa and in Jun in Somalia. Monogamous and territorial, singing throughout year. Male has short, laboured... read more


    Apparently resident, but may undertake local movements. At Ngulia Lodge, in Kenya, one flew to... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common in suitable habitat within relatively restricted range.

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2018). Red-winged Lark (Mirafra hypermetra). 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 March 2018).