Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Rusty Lark (Mirafra rufa)


French: Alouette rousse German: Rostlerche Spanish: Alondra rufa
Other common names: Rusty Bushlark

Mirafra rufa


, 1920,

Juga Juga, 3000 feet [c. 915 m], 15 miles [c. 24 km] ENE of El Fasher, Darfur, Sudan


Close relationship with M. gilletti suggested by some authors, but no data on genetics for either species; Calendulauda poecilosterna (which has been sampled molecularly) suggested as third member of same grouping, which if confirmed would require transfer of present species and M. gilletti to Calendulauda#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. r. nigriticola Bates, 1932 – E Mali E to WC Niger.
  • M. r. rufa Lynes, 1920 – SC Chad and W Sudan.
  • M. r. lynesi C. H. B. Grant & Mackworth-Praed, 1933 – C Sudan.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–15 cm. Small to medium-sized lark with narrow buff supercilium, dark-streaked rufous ear-coverts. Nominate race has crown and upperparts rufous, variably streaked... read more


    Poorly documented; male song given in aerial display, described as “pleasing”.


    Semi-arid savanna plains and open Combretum woodland on rocky ridges.

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including termites (Isoptera), and seeds. Forages on ground, singly or in pairs.


    Little known. Display recorded in May–Jul, also Sept in Chad. Male performs protracted aerial displays, dropping steeply to ground or... read more


    Apparently moves into areas after rain, but this possibly a reflection of its greater... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common in some parts of range, but generally scarce. A poorly known species.

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2020). Rusty Lark (Mirafra rufa). 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 24 February 2020).