The Western and Northern Cape suite of Long-billed Larks: telling them apart

Three species of the long-billed lark complex occur within the winter rainfall area and the arid north west of the country, with only the Eastern Long-billed Lark resident in the east in the summer rainfall area, and the Benguella Long-billed Lark to the north of the Brandberg Mountains of Namibia.

Karoo Long-billed Lark, by Patrick Cardwell

Karoo Long-billed Lark

All exhibit similar vocal and display characteristics during the breeding season but differ subtly in plumage variation and bill length with the Cape Long-billed Lark of the coastal dune system having the longest. The Agulhas Long-billed Lark is more or less confined to the open wheat lands of the Agulhas Plain while the Karoo Long-billed Lark is wide spread throughout the Great Karoo.

Agulhas Long-billed Lark, by Patrick Cardwell

Agulhas Long-billed Lark

Fence posts and any prominent perch is favoured as a call site in the breeding season making for great photographic opportunities as the birds are normally quite accommodating allowing for a close approach.

Cape Long-billed Lark

Cape Long-billed Lark

For more info on our birding tours as quests for specific birds or general birding tours out of Cape Town and the rest of South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, contact Patrick or Marie-Louise on info@avianleisure.com or browse our website www.avianleisure.com

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