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 Crested Lark  (Galerida cristata )


Status and distribution Widespread but decreasing over much of the Region. Breeds from Iberia north to Denmark and east to the Caspian. Range very patchy in Portugal, France and the Alps but found along the entire north Mediterranean coastline and on Sicily, Crete and other Greek islands, and Cyprus. Also breeds around the Black Sea, throughout Turkey and the Caucasus and in much of the Middle East. In North Africa found throughout the north-west and on coasts from Tunisia east to Sinai, in the Nile Valley and at a few Saharan oases. Formerly more widespread in France, central Europe and Norway. Mainly resident but may be migratory in northern parts of Russian range.

Vagrant north to Britain and Finland, also recorded Chad, Malta, the Canary Is and possibly the Azores. Surprisingly rare in Britain, as it breeds north to the Channel coast of France, with only 19 records. Most have been in southern England but has been recorded north to Shetland and west to Wales.

Subspecies There are 15-20 races found in the Region differing in ground colour and markings but there is much variation within races due to amount of light, humidity and soil colour. Basically, north European birds cristata are darker above, olive-brown or grey-brown, North-West African birds paler, plainer and more sandy-coloured, eg Tunisian arenicola, and often heavier-billed eg macrorhyncha from southern Algeria, but birds from Iberia and Morocco may be heavily tinged reddish and cinnamomina from Lebanon is rich cinnamon. Towards the east & south birds become generally paler and greyer, eg subtaurica from Turkey, with especially grey forms in the Caucasus and pale brownish-grey birds on the Greek islands. However, the darkest birds occur in the Nile Delta nigricans.

Habitat Waste ground, cultivated land, scrub and roadsides, often close to human habitation. Also on arid grassy plains and semi-desert.


 Source: Internet
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