basic information

Lesser Short-toed Lark

Calandrella rufescens (Vieillot, 1820)

Серый жаворонок | Сұр бозторғай

South Kazakhstan, Kyzylkol lake
© Yevgeny Belousov


The Lesser Short-toed Lark is a little bird with pale typical on Larks plumage color. It resembles the Greater Short-toed Lark slightly larger with short bulbous bill. The outer tail feathers are white. It is distinguished from Greater Short-toed Lark by the faint or no patches on breast-side; and by the distinctly streaked breast and craw. It's necessary to notice that these features are not so striking; it's need to watch birds from the short distance. Contact features: as on Greater Short-toed Lark it has very short first primary; the claw of rear toe is short, not longer than toe. In difference from Greater Short-toed Lark the tertails are short, the ending 10-15 mm short of wing tips. Both sexes are similar; the seasonal differences of plumage are insignificant. Juveniles in first plumage are well distinguished from adults by the doubled feather's tips formed by the dark and pale terminal bands. After the summer molting juveniles became same the adults. Weight 20-30 grams, length 15-18, wing 8,7-10,5, wingspan 28-34 cm.


The Lesser Short-toed Lark breeds in desert and semi-desert plains of southern half of Kazakhstan, in north up to middle current of Ural and Utva valleys, Kurgaldzhin depression and north coast of Sasykkol lake. In summer observed at foothills of Monrak ridge and in the Chiliktinskaya valley, but breeding was not proved. In the pointed area occurs on seasonal migration. In the small numbers winters in deserts adjacent to Caspian Sea, on Mangyshlak and lower of Ile river.


The Lesser Short-toed Lark is common, numerous in some areas, breeding migrant. Inhabits saline zones in sandy deserts, sands fastened with saxaul bushes, wormwood deserts and dry steppes. Arrives late February to early March in southern areas, and mid March to early April in northern areas, in flocks of several dozens birds. Breeds in separate pairs, not far one from another. Nest is built on ground in shallow scrape shaded by a plant and is made from dry grass and is lined with thin grass and vegetation fluff. Some nests are outside camouflaged by the pieces of ground and dry dung. Only female builds the nest, male escorts. Clutches of 3-6, more often of 5 eggs, are laid early April – end June. Both parents incubate (male has brood patch) for about 14 days, and feed the juveniles, which fledge from mid May to early July. Probably, two broods are reared per year, repeated breeding after loss of first nest is common. Autumn passage begins late in July when the juveniles bearing singly start to join in flocks. Most departing late August to late September. Last birds recorded end October.


Calandrella rufescens heinei (Homeyer, 1873)


Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. В.К.Рябицев. "Птицы Урала, Приуралья и Западной Сибири". Екатеринбург, Изд-во Уральского университета, 2000. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999.



Calandrella rufescens heinei
(Homeyer, 1873)

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Игорь Фефелов: Тощие какие-то они (большие горлицы) у вас...


Ирина Рекуц: Спасибо, Игорь!


Сергей Л. Волков: Действительно, теперь видно. По окраске головы и крупному клюву мне кажется, что это черноголовая трясогузка.

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