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Lesser short-toed lark – Alaudala rufescens

Lesser short-toed lark – Alaudala rufescens
is a small passerine bird found in southern Eurasia and northern Africa. It is a common bird with a very wide range and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of “least concern”. Confusingly, Hume’s short-toed lark is also sometimes called the lesser short-toed lark. The Lesser short-toed lark was originally described as belonging to the genus Alauda. The genus name Alaudala is a diminutive of Alauda, and the specific rufescens is Latin for “reddish”, from rufus “red”. Alternate names for the lesser short-toed lark include the common short-toed lark, grey lark, rufous short-toed lark and short-toed lark. Formerly or presently, some authorities considered the Athi short-toed lark, Asian short-toed lark and/or the Somali short-toed lark to be subspecies of the lesser short-toed lark.

The lesser short-toed lark is similar in size and appearance to the greater short-toed lark but is generally a duller-looking bird with a more streaked breast. It grows to a length of from 13 to 14 cm (5.1 to 5.5 in) and the sexes are similar. As with the greater short-toed lark, the colour varies across the broad range and is not a good distinguishing feature. It is dark-streaked greyish-brown above, and white below. It has a pale supercilium, and a short stubby bill.

Care must be taken to distinguish this species from the Calandrella larks. This species lacks the dark neck patches of the greater, and has fine streaking across the breast. The bill and head shape also differ, this species having a shorter, less-conical bill and a more-rounded, smaller head. The song is richer, more varied and imitative than that of its relative.

It sounds like this
Recording by Dries Van de Loock from Xeno canto