21 March 2020

Desert Larks - Judah

Whilst birding the Judah area we came across good numbers of Desert Larks Alauda deserti. These birds are pale coloured to match the surrounding escarpment and look similar to birds seen on the escarpments at Shedgum a hundred kilometres to the east. Geographical variation in Desert Lark is complex, and numerous races have been named mainly on the basis of plumage coloration, several of which occur in Saudi Arabia. The colour of the birds appears to be directly related to the colour of the local soil and rocks with birds from sandy habitats mostly buff-coloured, those of stony or rocky ground various shades of grey, rufous, or brown with blackish races living in black lava deserts. Confusingly, pale and dark birds occasionally live side by side in some areas and bleaching and abrasion have marked effect on colouration and produce further complications often making sub-specific identification difficult. The race occurring in the escarpments of Shedgum and possibly Judah in the east of the Kingdom appear to be the pale cream A. d. azizi which is the palest race occurring in the Kingdom. 
Desert Lark