Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Somali Lark (Mirafra somalica)


French: Alouette de Somalie German: Somaliriesenlerche Spanish: Alondra somalí
Other common names: Somali Long-billed Lark

Certhilauda somalica


, 1903,

Dibbit, Somalia


See M. hypermetra. Possibly allied to Certhilauda on basis of structure and undomed nest#R, but these could be result of convergence; smaller, darker race rochei, perhaps parapatric with nominate, has been suggested as perhaps a distinct species on basis of its wing-snapping display-flight, not so far recorded in nominate#R, which may therefore alone belong in Certhilauda; genetic studies required. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. s. somalica (Witherby, 1903) – N & NE Somalia (S to c. 3° N), including extreme E Ethiopia (Xaafuun Peninsula#R).
  • M. s. rochei Colston, 1982 – coast of C Somalia (2–3° N).
  • Descriptive notes

    19–22 cm; 44–50 g. Large reddish lark with long, slender bill; remininis­cent of Certhilauda, but with rufous edges of flight-feathers. Nominate race... read more


    Undescribed; implication that nominate race has a long, clear whistle, similar to that of S African... read more


    Open grassland, often with open patches of red sand; may occur where there are occasional small... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet unknown. Feeds on ground. Runs rapidly when disturbed, often jumping up on to grass tufts to gain better vantage; when flushed, seldom... read more


    Little known. Breeding recorded in Jun in N and Sept in S. Apparently solitary or in pairs throughout year. Race rochei reported... read more


    Probably resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Reported to be fairly common. Poorly known species; fieldwork required in order to determine its true status, as well as its ecology and biology.

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2019). Somali Lark (Mirafra somalica). 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 21 November 2019).