Crested Lark Galerida cristata Cogujada Común
Possibly the most widespread and common lark species to be found in Andalucia. Most frequently encountered in lower elevations with more open habitats, often cultivated country. Very common along coastal areas. Heavy in appearance and during the autumn and winter has brown coloured mantle and wings, although this can pale significantly with the onset of spring and summer. Long billed with upper mandible curved/hooked at tip, has pale, not white, supercilium, indistinct and varied streaking to upper breast. Song diagnostic also has distinct 3 syllable call in the ascending. Resident.
Thekla Lark Galerida theklae Cogujada Montesina
Common, but more localised than Crested Lark, being largely confined to open hillside and mountain terrain with scrub and bushes. Occasionally inhabits the same areas as Crested Lark, so habitat not always determinate for identification purposes. Most common lark species on rocky and scree slopes at higher altitudes, where Skylark also occurs. Generally appears more slender and smaller than Crested Lark and apart from the autumn, when fresh plumage is evident (both juveniles and adults undergo full moults during late summer), the mantle and wings are greyish and pale. Short billed and lacks the curve/hook at the tip of the upper mandible. White supercilium and eye ring, with heavy black streaking to upper and medium breast. Song diagnostic and frequently has 2 syllable call in the descending. Resident.
Figure 1. Crested Lark. Note length of bill, curved/hooked tip to upper mandible. Plain and frequently unstreaked ear coverts. Pale, often cream coloured supercilium. Throat most often unmarked and plain colour grey/beige. Lore indistinct and rarely noticeable. Eye ring most often pale, not white. Figure 1a. Pale grey/beige throat, varied and thin streaking only to upper breast. Breast colour beige to off white. Alula barely visible on closed wing.
Figure 2. Thekla Lark. Shorter and blunt bill compared to Crested Lark. Dark and sometimes streaked ear coverts. White supercilium and eye ring. Lore dark and distinct. Figure 2a. Pale to white throat. Heavy streaking to upper and medium breast, gives the impression of heavy lines drawn by a felt-tipped pen! Breast colour grey and can often be white. Alula visible on closed wing.
Article by: Peter Jones
Peter is a leading bird guide for many birding destinations worldwide and is based in Andalucia, Spain. He not only leads tours throughout the world, but also leads day tours in the province.
Website for tours in Andalucia: Birding Tours in Spain
Peter’s Blog: http://spanishnature.blogspot.com/