Status and distribution More restricted in range than Short-toed Lark, breeds on the Canary Is and in southern & eastern Spain, across North-West Africa, in coastal Libya and in the Nile Delta. In the east breeds from Ukraine and Crimea east to the Caspian, in Central Turkey and the Caucasus, and in the Middle East mainly in Syria but with scattered pockets in Iraq and Israel.
Most populations are resident or dispersive, those in the north-east of range are migratory, leaving Aug-Sep and returning Mar-Apr. Turkish birds probably partial migrants. Passage birds occur in Turkey and the Middle East, less commonly in Cyprus and Gibraltar.
Vagrants recorded in Britain and France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Finland, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece (Crete) and Malta.
The four former Irish records are now rejected and the first and only British record was one at Portland Bill, Dorset in May 1992.
Subspecies About 10 races occur in the Region differing in ground colour, markings and bill size. Nominate race rufescens, confined to Tenerife, is rufous-brown above with heavy streaks, paler, with lighter sreaking is polatzeki from Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. The Spanish race apetzii is dark with very heavy streaking above and on chest and throat. North African races, minor and nicolli are pale and sandy coloured with fairly narrow streaks. Race heinei found from Ukraine to the Caucasus is pale and greyish with narrow streaks and other races from South-West Asia closely resemble it.
Habitat Stony or rocky areas on steppes, semi-desert and open cultivated land with short vegetation.