Roufous tailed finch lark


A. phoenicura



Local Names

rufous-tailed lark




India and some parts of Pakistan

DNA Barcode


The rufous-tailed lark (Ammomanes phoenicura), also sometimes called the rufous-tailed finch-lark, is a ground bird found in the drier open stony habitats of India and parts of Pakistan. Like other species in the genus it has a large finch-like bill with a slightly curved edge to the upper mandible. The dull brown colour matches the soil as it forages for grass seeds, grain and insects. Males and females are indistinguishable in the field but during the breeding season, the male has a courtship display that involves flying up steeply and then nose-diving and pulling up in a series of stepped wavy dips accompanied by calling. They forage on the ground in pairs or small groups.

The species is found mainly in low altitude dry regions in open habitats without significant tree cover. It is resident mainly within India south of the Ganges extending west to Kutch and the Aravallis of Rajasthan. They are summer visitors to parts of Pakistan in northern Punjab and in southern Nepal. The species does not occur in Sri Lanka and reports of their occurrence on the island of Rameshwaram have not been confirmed while the species is largely absent along the Western Ghats region particularly in Kerala. The rufous-tailed lark was originally placed in the genus Mirafra. Alternate names for the rufous-tailed lark include bar-tailed lark, rufous-tailed desert lark, and rufous-tailed finch-lark.

Usually seen on the ground, but sometimes perching on wires, these birds are not secretive. They walk on the ground making quick dashes to capture insects and when disturbed crouch and stay still to flush only when approached very close. The breeding season is from February to May. The display of males involves rising high with deep beats of the wing and then descending in a series of nose dives accompanied by short burbling or chirruping notes. They also call while perched. The nest is built in a depression in the ground and two to four eggs form the typical clutch. The eggs are broad oval with some gloss. The colour is creamy or pale yellowish-white with spots all over but denser at the broad end. The incubation period has not been ascertained.