Malabar Lark     Galerida malabarica

Etymology : 

  • Galerida : latin word for Lark with a crest derived from galea – helmet
  • Malabarica : From Malabar ( Kerala), in India

 Vernacular Names : Guj: Malabari chandul, Ta: Kondai vanambadi, Te: Chinna chandul, Mal: Komban vanambadi, Mar: Malabari Turewala Chandole

Distribution in India: Resident of Western peninsular India.

Description: Size of 16 cm. It is a medium-sized, fairly sturdy lark with prominent spiky crest  which is inconspicuous when folded, medium-long bill and fairly short tail. It has moderately distinct buffish supercilium, distinct dark loral stripe, and buffish or pale grey-brown ear-coverts with some darker streaking towards rear. The crown and upperparts  are rufous-brown to more grey-brown, strongly streaked blackish-brown. The upperwing-coverts and tertials are dark grey-brown or blackish-brown with buffish tips and edges. The remiges and tail are dark grey-brown, penultimate rectrix has rufous-buffish outer edge, outermost rectrix with rufous-buff wedge of varying prominence on inner web. The breast and flanks are buff, breast with heavy blackish streaking, rest of underparts are pale buffish or buffish-white, underwing extensively pale rufous. The upper mandible mainly dark grey, lower mandible is pale pinkish or slightly yellowish-tinged; legs are pale pinkish. Both the sexes are similar in plumage, female on average smaller than male. The juvenile has prominent whitish feather tips above, looking scaly or white-spotted.

Habitat:  It is found in dry open habitats, preferably with some scrub and rocks, e.g. agricultural land, grass-covered stony hill sides and forest clearings. It is found up to 2000 m.

Food habits: It eats seeds and invertebrates, e.g. orthopterans, beetles and ants.  It forages on ground, singly or in pairs.

Breeding habits:  They breed in all months, less in Jun–Jul. For the mating ritual, the Song-flighting male hangs more or less still or flies about in irregular “circles” with relatively slow-flapping wings and partly spread tail. The nest is a cup of grass and roots lined with finer material, in depression on ground, sheltered by stone or tuft of grass. They lay a clutch of 2–3 eggs.