This bird is much more widespread in North America than it is the Old World. It also has a better name - the Horned Lark - for the majority of Shore Larks never see a shore although, in Western Europe, most of them winter on coastal salt marshes and other open areas. Many of the Old World breeding places are in real mountains - the Himalayas, in the Near East, the Atlas and down the spine of Scandinavia but there is also a tundra breeding population around Northern Siberia. In North America they breed from tundra to Mexico.
This is a handsome bird with richly streaked brown and black upperparts and white underparts with sandy flanks. The face is pale yellow with a broad black chest-band, black stripe through and below (behind) the eye, pale ear coverts and a brown crown - separated from the yellow of the face by another black band. This black band ends in little 'devil's horn' tufts at the side of the head. Their flight call is like a Meadow Pipits - but different enough to alert the alert birder. Shore Larks have been recorded in summer in Britain but the winter population, though usually 200-300, sometimes reaches a thousand birds.
A slim lark with complicated black face pattern and horns above its ears!
Length 155 mm Closed wing 110 mm Weight 35 mm
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead