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Order Song birds/Passeriformes, Family Larks/Alaudidae

Black Lark/Melanocorypha yeltoniensis - Adult

L 18-20½ cm. Breeds on natural steppe, often near marsh and salines. Locally common. Partly migratory.
IDENTIFICATION: Adult male: Large, all black, with bill heavy and straw-coloured; in autumn, pale fringes cover much of black. Song-flight often with wingbeats in slow motion. Display-flight at low level with very high, stiff wingbeats or dove-like glides; tumbles down to court female with raised tail and lowered wings and neck. - Adult female: Brown-grey, blotched dark; plumage rather variable, some resemble Calandra Lark, having a larger dark patch on side of breast. Note, however, dark legs, no wide white trailing edge of wing, and usually obvious blotching below. Underwing-coverts almost black, clearly darker than wing-feathers.
VOICE: Song like Skylark’s but slightly higher-pitched and even more frizzling and frantically twittering (like ‘quarrelling young Starlings’); loudness frequently varied. Soft, miaowing, ‘pleading’ notes are frequently mixed in.

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