Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Sun Lark (Galerida modesta)


French: Cochevis modeste German: Sonnenlerche Spanish: Cogujada modesta

Galerida modesta


, 1864,

Bongo, Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan


Close relationship with G. magnirostris recently confirmed genetically#R. Birds from Burkina Faso E to W Sudan named as race giffardi (often erroneously spelt as giffordi), but indistinguishable from nominate. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. m. modesta Heuglin, 1864 – S Senegambia, S Mali and N Ivory Coast E to SW Sudan & South Sudan.
  • G. m. nigrita (Grote, 1920) – Guinea and N Sierra Leone.
  • G. m. struempelli (Reichenow, 1910) – highlands of N Cameroon.
  • G. m. bucolica (Hartlaub, 1887) – SE Central African Republic, NE DRCongo and extreme NW Uganda.
  • Descriptive notes

    14–15 cm; 18–22 g. Medium-sized, rather dark lark, heavily streaked above and on breast, with short erectile crest, rather small bill. Nominate race has creamy to... read more


    Male song, in flight or sometimes from low perch, a series of sweetly whistled notes and buzzing... read more


    Open countryside, often rocky hills, where prefers areas of short grass and open rock; also... read more

    Food and feeding

    Grass and other seeds, and insects. Forages on the ground, singly or in pairs; often in small flocks outside breeding season.


    Season Nov–Feb and May–Jul. Monogamous. Male sings in hovering aerial display. Nest built by female, accompanied by male, an... read more


    Resident in some areas; elsewhere, subject to more or less regular movements linked to seasonal... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common to not uncommon; very uncommon in extreme SE of range (NW Uganda). Adaptable; frequently occurs in agricultural lands and other human-... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2020). Sun Lark (Galerida modesta). 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 2020).