A Fawncoloured Lark

(Mirafra africanoides)

in Botswana

On the ground it looks like a lark


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Singing in top of the bush

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The habitat, the Makgadikgadi Pans in northern Botswana

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Those larks or pipits in southern Africa are not easy.  Jean-Sébastien Rousseau from Belgium mailed me: "I suggest a Lark. The very pale breast with a faint collar of streaks suggest me Fawn-coloured Lark (Mirafra africanoides) but another possibility is Melodious Lark (Mirafra cheniana). This latter is restricted to central Botswana. Both have a marked supercilium as your bird. Anyway it is surely a Lark of the genus Mirafra (because of the rufous primaries and the bill shape)".

The final answer came from Pretoria. Stephan Terblanche mailed: Your bird certainly is a lark. The thick head of the photo on the ground makes that much clear. The clear supercilium, thinish bill, white underparts with faint streaking on the breast, together with the habitat proves conclusively that this is a Fawncoloured Lark (Mirafra africanoides). The calls of most larks are their most identifiable characteristic, and this one has a very distinctive call - like no other lark or pipit.

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Ruud Kampf: rekel@tref.nl

homepage: www.rekel.nl