Chestnut-backed sparrowlark

Chestnut-backed sparrowlark
Eremopterix leucotis

Photo by Guy Poisson (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
chestnut-backed sparrowlark (en); cotovia-pardal-de-dorso-castanho (pt); moinelette à oreillons blancs (fr); terrera orejiblanca (es); weißwangenlerche (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Alaudidae

This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, in the Sahel belt from Mauritania and Senegal to Sudan, through Kenya and Tanzania and into Angola, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa.

These small larks are 11 cm long and weigh 12-16 g.

The chestnut-backed sparrowlark is mostly found in short, dry grasslands and semi-arid savanna woodlands, especially in recently burnt areas, but also in pastures and arable land.

They forage on the ground, usually in flocks of 5-50 birds, mainly eating seeds of cultivated cereal crops or grasses, but also taking some invertebrates.

Chestnut-backed sparrowlarks breed in January-September. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a cup of dry grass and rootlets placed in a shallow excavated depression in the ground. It is often positioned against a grass tuft or stone. There the female lays 1-3 eggs which are incubated by both parents for about 11 days. The chicks are brooded and fed by both parents, leaving the nest 10-12 days after hatching, but only being able to fly a few days later.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as fairly common to common throughout most of its range, although scarce at the periphery of this range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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