David Element

Wildlife Photography and Digital Video Images

___________________________________________________________ Birds 128 American Horned Larks

 

 

 

 

 

 

AMERICAN HORNED LARK Eremophila alpestris alpestris

 

 

 

AMERICAN HORNED LARK Eremophila alpestris alpestris

 

 

         The American Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris alpestris is something of a rarity in the UK. 'Horned Lark' is the recently adopted Gill & Donsker (2012)/IOC International English Name for the Shore Lark E. alpestris. This bird is an uncommon winter visitor to the British Isles with an average of fewer than 100 sightings per annum but the reason why this particular individual had been of great interest when it was discovered at a well-known reservoir was that the field characteristics were consistent with one of the American races/subspecies E. a. alpestris, indicating that it had originated from the other side of the Atlantic. In particular the markings above each eye were white rather than yellow as would be anticipated in typical examples. The only definitive method of obtaining an unequivocal classification (if there is such a thing) was DNA analysis. Fortunately a shed feather was located and DNA analysis has indeed proven Nearctic origin - a western race). There is an informed discussion about the classification of this species at: https://www.hbw.com/species/horned-lark-eremophila-alpestris.

 

         Film of the American Horned Lark may be seen at: https://youtu.be/ttEu5LP8Jgk - much of the soundtrack consists of numerous clicks from adjacent camera motor-drives as this bird had attracted a lot of attention so the film is rather short!

 

 

 

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David Element