Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Short-tailed Lark (Spizocorys fremantlii)


French: Alouette à queue courte German: Kurzschwanzlerche Spanish: Alondra colicorta

Calendula fremantlii

E. L. Phillips

, 1897,

Gedais, Somalia


Peculiar lark sometimes placed in Galerida, or more recently in Pseudalaemon, but recent molecular phylogeny locates it firmly within present genus#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. f. fremantlii (E. L. Phillips, 1897) – Somalia and SE Ethiopia.
  • S. f. megaensis (Benson, 1946) – S Ethiopia and N Kenya.
  • S. f. delamerei (Sharpe, 1900) – S Kenya and N Tanzania.
  • Descriptive notes

    14–15 cm; male 23–26 g, female 19–25 g. Peculiarly short-tailed lark with large head and long, heavy bill. Nominate race has well-marked face, with buffish-... read more


    Song, from ground, a rather slow series of mournful and sometimes slurred whistled notes, both... read more


    Semi-arid grassland and open dry woodland, often at edge of grassy plains where some rocks and low... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds, bases of grass leaves, corms, and at least some insects. Forages on the ground, singly or in pairs; in small flocks outside breeding... read more


    Poorly known. Breeds May–Jun. Only two nests described, each in centre of grass tuft; clutch 3–4 eggs; nothing known about... read more


    Resident and local nomad.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common; occasionally abundant in Somalia, where non-breeding flocks of up to 50 birds recorded. Possibly less numerous in Kenya and Tanzania... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2020). Short-tailed Lark (Spizocorys fremantlii). 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 25 February 2020).