Black Lark

Black Lark
Black Lark
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Alaudidae
Genus: Melanocorypha
Species: M. yeltoniensis
Binomial name
Melanocorypha yeltoniensis
(Forster, 1767)

The Black Lark, Melanocorypha yeltoniensis, breeds in southeast Russia and Kazakhstan. It is partially migratory, with birds from the northwest of its breeding range moving south-east to winter further into Russia and neighbouring countries, as far as the northern Black Sea coasts in southern Ukraine.

This is a bird of open steppe, often near water. Its nest is on the ground, with 4-5 eggs being laid. Food is seeds and insects, the latter especially in the breeding season. It is gregarious in winter.

This is a large, robust lark, 18-20.5 cm in length. The adult male is unmistakable, being all black with some pale feather fringes on its back, and with a yellowish or pink bill. The female is undistinguished in comparison, mainly dark-blotched grey above and paler below. Her legs and underwing are black.

The song is like a frantic version of that of Skylark.


Black Lark is a very rare vagrant away from its breeding range, with records during both spring and autumn passage periods, and also in winter; the following is a complete list of European records away from the breeding range & normal wintering range at the time of writing (2005):

An individual was also recorded on an unknown date (prior to 2003) in Lebanon.


  • BirdLife International (2006). Melanocorypha yeltoniensis. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006.

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