BIRDING IN THE CAPE PENINSULA: CLAPPER LARKS

Local birders seem surprised when mention is made of ‘larks’ occurring on the Cape Peninsula. This is indeed a valid reaction as most of our south-western Cape lark species occur either up the West Coast or in the Tanqua Karoo lying within the rain shadow of the Cederberg mountain range.

Clapper Lark, singing on his perch

Clapper Lark

But for those in the know a thriving community of Cape Clapper Larks ( Mirafra apiata sub species marjoriae) is happily established in the Table Mountain National Park to the south of Glencairn in the South Peninsula.

Normally shy and secretive, in keeping with its cryptic colouration and rodent-like behaviour as it scurries about within the ‘fynbos’ mix of restio reeds and grasses, early spring gives rise to vibrant wing clapping displays of up to 28 claps a second, followed by an audible whistle on descent, as rival males compete energetically and vocally over territory.

After trying several times, I was fortunate to be able to photograph these characterful larks on a lovely sunny day:

Clapper Lark in Cape Town

…on his perch

Clapper Lark on his perch in Cape Peninsula

…another few notes

 

Clapper Lark displaying

Clapper Lark in full display

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PJC/avianleisure/6/11/2013

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