20 Nov 2016

Four Oriental Skylarks – Jubail

I went birding to Jubail on 11 November and came across four small larks in a rough area of ground with plentiful plants. The birds at first glance gave the impression of Short-toed Larks but on a quick look through the binoculars turned out to be Skylarks. I grabbed my camera and the birds flew off calling with a very strange call unlike that of Eurasian Skylark making me think of Oriental Skylark. I managed to jump out of the car and get a few flight shots of a couple of birds and these showed a sandy and not whit trailing edge to the wing. A very useful discussion with Yoav Perlman who mentioned the small bill, lack of white trailing edge but rather thin sandy trailing edge, overall sandy appearance, less striking head pattern, short primary projection and call all make for the identification of the birds Oriental Skylark. The Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula looks smaller and squatter, with a noticeably shorter tail, wings and primary projection, with an obvious rusty tone to the ear-coverts and wings, and sandy outer tail feathers. Its bill is comparatively long and thin. In flight, it has a sandy, not white, trailing edge to the wings, which seem short and rounded, and its tail looks rather short. It differs from Short-toed Calandrella bmchydaclyla and Lesser Short-toed Larks C. rufescens in its longer and narrower bill and its more prominent breast streaking. Its buzzing call is different from that of any other lark and is very distinctive and was the way I originally located the birds.
Oriental Skylark

Oriental Skylark

Oriental Skylark

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