Rufous-naped Lark

Mirafra africana

The Rufous-naped Lark is a common and conspicuous inhabitant of agricultural fields, open grasslands and savannas, where males display prominently atop perches like tree stumps, fence-posts and termite mounds. They follow a mixed diet of insects and seeds. Adult Rufous-naped Larks measure around 17cm in length and weigh about 44g.

Rufous-naped Larks are usually found singly or in pairs, being territorial and monogamous. Their nests are domed structures built of dry grass at the base of a bush or tuft of grass. They breed almost throughout the year, though there’s a distinct peak in the summer months. Clutches of 2-4 eggs are incubated for 2 weeks, with the female taking most of the parental responsibility after the eggs have hatched. The chicks leave the nest before they’re 2 weeks old and before they can fly.

The IUCN lists the Rufous-naped Lark as being of least concern, though it does mention a probably declining and fragmenting population in the north of the species’ range. In South Africa they occur in the Eastern Cape, Free State, Northwest, Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, and north of our borders they’re distributed patchily over much of sub-Saharan Africa.

 

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20 thoughts on “Rufous-naped Lark

  1. naturebackin

    I love the opening picture. I enjoy hearing them calling, especially in the mornings. They are such a dynamic presence in our wide open spaces. Theirs is the only lark call I recognise as it is somehow distinctive.

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  2. Don Reid

    Their clear whistled call is just as distinctive – one of the first lark calls I got to know and I’ve spent many an hour birding in grasslands with its call almost constantly in the background
    Lovely photos!

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thanks, Don!
      I’m still trying to learn the different lark calls – seems like an easier way to distinguish the “LBJ’s” than trying to rely on my colour-blind impressions of their plumage…

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  3. John

    Great picture of the beautiful little bird!😊 I can see that many chicks leave the nest after just a few weeks, like this birds chicks do. How do they manage? They can’t fly and the parents must take care of them, I think.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      I think that with there being so many predators around here in Africa, sitting around in a nest for too long is a really dangerous undertaking. And surprisingly, even though this one doesn’t, most of the different birds we’ve featured on our blog before do actually fly by the time they leave the nest, even if it is with a little bit of difficulty.

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