Horsfield's Bushlark

Did you know?

During breeding season the Horsfield's Bushlark calls loudly while flying high in an undulating flight.

Calls
Rich, varied, tinkling song that includes mimicry.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
12cm
Maximum Size: 
15cm
Average size: 
13cm
Average weight: 
23g
Breeding season: 
September to January
Clutch Size: 
2 to 4
Nestling Period: 
10 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
NT: 
QLD: 
SA: 
VIC: 
WA: 
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
648
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Horsfield's Bushlark is a small, short, thickset bird with a short sparrow-like bill. The upper parts are brown, reddish or sandy in colour with darker central streaks to the feathers. The breast is mottled or streaked and it has a buff eyebrow. The underparts are pale, with a brown tail. It is mainly found on the ground and runs without bobbing. If disturbed, it may fly low to the ground in short jerky swoops, with the neck stretched so that the head is held up and the tail is pointed down. The wings in flight appear short and broad. The Horsfield's Bushlark is also known as the Singing, Australasian or Brown Bushlark.

Similar species: 

The Horsfield's Bushlark is much smaller than two similar birds, the Skylark, Alauda arvensis, and Richard's PipitAnthus novaeseelandiae. Its song is not as rich and varied as the song of the Skylark and it lacks the Skylark's short crest. The Horsfield's Bushlark runs without bobbing, unlike the pipit.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Horsfield's Bushlark occurs from the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, through Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia to Shark Bay. This species is vagrant to Tasmania. It also occurs from Nigeria to Arabia, India and the Malay Archipelago.

Habitat: 

The Horsfield's Bushlark occurs in tropical and temperate grasslands, open woodlands, cereal crops and sparse sugar cane fields.

Seasonal movements: 

The Horsfield's Bushlark is a summer migrant to south-east Australia.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Horsfield's Bushlark feeds on grasses, seeds and insects. It often forages alone, but sometimes is found in small parties, foraging on the ground.

Breeding: 

The Horsfield's Bushlark will breed following significant rainfall in arid areas. It builds a deep, cup-shaped nest in a natural depression or a hollow scrape in the ground. The nest is usually lined with dry grasses and a hood of dry grasses is often built over the nest. The nests are usually found in grasslands.

Living with us

The Horsfield's Bushlark may have benefitted from from the clearing of forests for pasture and cropping. Their young may be vunerable to predation in the nest by introduced predators.

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