Family Larks (Alaudidae)

Least Concern

Thekla's Lark (Galerida theklae)


French: Cochevis de Thékla German: Theklalerche Spanish: Cogujada montesina

Galerita [sic] Theklae

A. E. Brehm

, 1857,

Xàtiva, near Valencia, Spain


Has often been treated as conspecific with G. malabarica, but proof of close relationship lacking#R#R. Marked geographical variation in colour, rather slight in size; variation strongly clinal in W of range, from grey-brown in N (Spain) to sandy-coloured in S (Sahara), but there is also a deep genetic break in populations of W Palearctic and E Africa#R#R. Proposed race aguirrei (E Morocco) included in ruficolor; birds named as race deichleri (Sahara of NE Algeria and SC Tunisia) considered to involve bleached individuals of carolinae. Twelve subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. t. theklae A. E. Brehm, 1857 – E & S Portugal, Spain (including Balearic Is) and extreme S France (Roussillon).
  • G. t. erlangeri E. J. O. Hartert, 1904 – N Morocco (E to Algerian border, S to Middle Atlas).
  • G. t. ruficolor Whitaker, 1898 – NE & C Morocco, coastal Algeria and N Tunisia.
  • G. t. theresae R. Meinertzhagen, 1939 – SW Morocco (S from Anti-Atlas Mts) and Western Sahara.
  • G. t. superflua E. J. O. Hartert, 1897 – Hauts Plateaux in NE Morocco (E of R Moulouya) and N Algeria (S to Saharan Atlas) E to Tunisia.
  • G. t. carolinae Erlanger, 1897 – N Sahara from extreme E Morocco (Figuig) E to NE Libya, probably also extreme NW Egypt (Salum).
  • G. t. praetermissa (Blanford, 1869) – highlands from S Eritrea S to C Ethiopia.
  • G. t. huei Érard & de Naurois, 1973 – SC Ethiopia (Bale Mts, Arussi).
  • G. t. huriensis#R Benson, 1947 – S Ethiopia and N Kenya (Huri Hills S to Marsabit).
  • G. t. ellioti E. J. O. Hartert, 1897 – N & C Somalia and probably this race in SE Ethiopia (S Ogaden)#R.
  • G. t. harrarensis Érard & Jarry, 1973 – E Ethiopia (Harar, Jijiga).
  • G. t. mallablensis Colston, 1982 – coastal S Somalia.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–17 cm; c. 30–40 g. Medium-sized, rather bulky lark with obvious crest, medium-length bill, rather short and broad-based wings with almost no primary projection... read more


    Male song, mostly in flight or from top of bush, protracted series of whistles, twitters and... read more


    Rugged areas with shrubs and with high percentage of bare ground or semi-arid pasture; typically in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly insects, also seeds, to lesser extent green plant material. Diet varies with season: mainly invertebrates in spring, mixed with... read more


    Laying Feb–Jun (mostly from May) in N of range, from early Apr in N Africa but sometimes from Feb in W Morocco; in Somalia May–... read more


    Resident. Sedentary in most of range, but some apparent longer dispersive movement or wandering in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common or very common. In Europe, Iberian population estimated during early 1990s at 1,400,000–1,700,000 pairs, 94% of these in Spain... read more

    Recommended citation

    de Juana, E. & Suárez, F. (2020). Thekla's Lark (Galerida theklae). 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 27 February 2020).