Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Singing Bushlark (Mirafra cantillans)

Following the taxonomy applied to HBW Alive, derived from the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, this taxon is now lumped within Horsfield's Bushlark (Mirafra javanica).


French: Alouette chanteuse German: Buschlerche Spanish: Alondra Cantarina
Other common names: Singing Lark, Western Singing Bushlark, African Singing Bushlark (chadensis, marginata)

Mirafra cantillans


, 1845,



Has been placed in a superspecies with M. javanica, M. albicauda, M. passerina and M. cheniana, but validity of this grouping remains untested. Frequently treated as conspecific with M. javanica, and probably closest to and sister-taxon of that species, from which it differs by 1·8% in cytochrome b sequences. Some evidence that disjunct nominate race of Indian Subcontinent is distinct from the Afrotropical populations; further study needed. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution

Descriptive notes

13 cm; 15–21 g. Small, compact lark with shortish, stubby bill. Nominate race has prominent whitish or pale buff supercilium contrasting with brownish-buff ear-coverts... read more


Male’s song a varied series of chirps, whistles and buzzes, elements repeated in different... read more


Fairly short grassland and open acacia (Acacia) savanna; also in cultivated land, provided... read more

Food and feeding

Food a mix of insects and seeds (mostly of grasses). Stomach contents of birds from Senegal mainly insects, with grasshoppers (Acrididae)... read more


Breeding synchronized with local rains; mostly May–Oct in Sahel (nesting commenced within 6 days of rain in N Senegal), and Nov... read more


Poorly understood. Sahel population assumed to be partly migratory, at least in W Africa, with post... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common or even abundant in Africa; very local in Indian Subcontinent, where scarce in Pakistan and rare in Nepal, frequent but very localized... read more

Recommended citation

Ryan, P. (2019). Singing Bushlark (Mirafra cantillans). 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 16 February 2019).