The Russian name is bookish, given in connection with the short conical beak of the bird, reminiscent of the beak of finches.
Dimensions and structure... The plumage is loose and soft. The underdeveloped 1st fly feather is rather large, it is almost a third of the length of the 2nd. The tail trim of the finch lark is straight. Wing length of males (12) 97-207.6, females (5) 96.5-105, on average 102.5 and 101.7 mm (Zoological Museum of Moscow University), tail length of males (15) 70.5-78 , 7 mm, females (11) 70.2- 72.7 mm, male beak, measured from the corner of the mouth, (14) 16-18.8 mm, females (11) 16.2-17.5 mm.
Coloration... The general coloration of the back, head and neck and wing coverts is sandy-grayish. Uppertail is pale reddish. Flight feathers are grayish-brown with a dark main part of the outer webs, reddish-rufous edges of the inner webs, and narrow light edges. The ventral side is whitish with an ocher tinge. The cheeks, ear coverts and sides of the body are grayish. Underwings are reddish. On the goiter and throat there are pale dark streaks. The bill is brownish, paler towards the base of the mandible. The legs are brown. The eyes of the desert lark are dark brown.
The female is similar to the male, slightly smaller. Juveniles are pale, grayish with slightly noticeable light margins of feathers on the back, with brown medium and large wing coverts, flight feathers and tail feathers with pale wide rims, bases of tail feathers and inner webs of flight feathers are rufous.
Area... Deserts of North Africa from Algeria to the Red Sea, south to Damergu (western Sahara about 14 ° N), the Libyan desert and Nubia. In Asia - the Sinai Peninsula, the middle and northern parts of Arabia, Iraq, Iran south to the shores of the Persian Gulf, north to the Caspian Sea, further east to the northwestern parts of India (the Indus Valley from the mouth to the north. Punjab and Kashmir ). In the USSR - the south of Turkmenistan, the south of Uzbekistan, the southwestern part of Tajikistan - to the north to Gissar.
Nature of stay... The Desert Lark is a resident bird. In mountainous areas it migrates to the lowlands for the winter.
Voice - short chirping and whistling.
Habitat... Low barren rocky mountains, rugged terrain on dry clay plains. Avoids sandy deserts.
Subspecies and varying traits... The size of the bird and the nature of the color are variable. The latter is undoubtedly dependent on the main color of the soil, which the bird adheres to. Many (21) subspecies have been described, some of which, obviously, cannot be recognized as true geographic subspecies, but represent intrazonal color changes in connection with the substrate. There are two well-defined subspecies in the USSR: A. d. Parvirostris Hartert, 1890, - the south of Turkmenistan west of Kushka and most of Iran, A. d. orientalise - the most eastern parts of Turkmenistan, the south of Uzbekistan and the south-west of Tajikistan, western Afghanistan, western Baluchistan, eastern parts of Iran (Seistan), A. d. phoenicuroides Вlуth, 1853 - the Indus valley from the mouth to northern Punjab and southern Kashmir, western parts of Afghanistan and Baluchistan, A. d. cheeesmani Meinertzhagen, 1923 - Iraq (Kasrishirin and eastern parts of Jebel Hamrin), A. d. azizi Tisehurst et Cheesman, 1924 - middle parts of eastern Arabia (province of Hassa, or Al-Hassa), A. d. coxi Meinertzhagen, 1923 - Syrian Desert and northern parts of northern Arabia, A. d. saturatus Grant, 1900 - southern Arabia, A. d. annae Meinertzhagen, 1923 - env. Amman (northwestern Arabia northeast of the Dead Sea), A. d. isabellina Temminck, 1823 - Palestine, Sinai (no highlands) and lower Egypt to Cairo (possibly a special form in Palestine - A. d. fraterculus Tristram, 1864), A. d. Katharinae Zedlitz, 1912 - Sinai highlands, A. d. akeleyi Elliot, 1897 - Somalia, A. d. Samharensis Shelley, 1902 - Abyssinia to the shores of the Red Sea, A. d. erythrochroa Re1сhenоw, 1904 - southern Nubia (from the Dongolian arc of the Nile), A. d. deserti Lichtenstein, 1823 - Egypt from Cairo south to the Dongol arc (at least to Wadi Halfa): A.d. algeriensis Sharpe, 1890 - Algeria and Tunisia (south of the Atlas watershed) through Tripolitania and the Libyan Desert to the left bank of the Nile, A. d. whitakeri Hartеrt, 1911 - Central Tripolitania (Jebel Essola), A. d. intermedia Heimde Balsa c, 1925 - El Golea (Algerian Sahara between 30 and 31 ° N), A. d. mya Hartert, 1911 - Talemit Highlands (Western Sahara at 28 ° N), probably also Air (18 ° N), A. d. bensoni Meinertzhagen, 1933 - the upper zone of the Ahaggar plateau (Western Sahara under the Tropic of Cancer), A. d. janeti Meinertzhagen, 1933 - lower zone (southern part) of the Ahaggar plateau (1200-1500 l) env. Tamanraseta, A. d. geyri Hartеrt, 1924 - Damergu (Western Sahara, 14-15 ° N).
Reproduction... Not studied.
Molting... Not studied.
Food... In the stomach of one bird from Turkmenistan, there were plant remains and larvae of butterflies (whites).
Field signs... In size and general appearance, the finch lark resembles a crested lark, but has a more monotonous color without shading and without a crest on its head. It keeps on the ground in pairs and flocks.
Literature: Birds of the Soviet Union. G. P. Dementyev, N. A. Gladkov, A. M. Sudilovskaya, E. P. Spangerberg, L. B. Boehme, I. B. Volchanetsky, M. A. Voinstvensky, N. N. Gorchakovskaya, M. N. Korelov, A. K. Rustamov. Moscow - 1955
Photo "The velvet-tailed Desert Lark is a species of Ammomanes cinctura in the family Alaudidae, found from Morocco to Pakistan. Its natural habitat is in the hot deserts." can be used for personal and commercial purposes according to the conditions of the purchased Royalty-free license. The image is available for download in high resolution quality up to 4240x2826.
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