Sunday, 6 April 2008

Having a Lark?!

Some correspondence from Stephen Menzie from Menzie Birding fame has questioned whether my Crested Lark is actually a Thekla Lark so here is another picture. (on left) Below is a picture of a different bird - a bit over exposed (?!) but in the same area and perched up. some birds were terrestrial and some seemed to favour percing in shrubs. Is this the divide between Thekla & Crested. Some birds seemd to have paler underwings and a few had definite rufous underwings but I wouldnt want to call them on that characteristic. Any opinions gratefully received.


Jochen said...

Just by intuition and that darned general impression (yeah, right), I'd call that a Thekla. They are more chubby and look as if they've run against a wall with their head once too often: short bill, short crest, shorter neck/head...

Jochen said...

Okay, the previous comment was rather useless. I seriously think your larks are Theklas. I do get to see a fair amount of Cresteds here in Germany and have been to the Mediterranean a few times. Theklas and Cresteds have a strikingly different head profile. Cresteds have a long bill and a rather flat, longish head, they also appear (though this might be an optical effect rather than something you can measure) longer-necked. Theklas have a shorter, more conical bill and their crest doesn't really look like a crest, just like an extremely flat forehead of a high and deformed head. Their head thus appears more rounded (as long as it is high whereas Crested appears longer than it is high) and the whole bird always a bit more chubby, shorter-necked etc. Add to this some rufous on the rump and you can be pretty sure you've seen a Thekla.

Okay, I am aware of the difficulties the different subspecies pose, but heck, this worked for me in Spain and if you're somewhere in Algeria, you'll have to see for yourself.

And if all that doesn't float your Thekla-boat, visit Mallorca. No Cresteds there, just Theklas, so it's easy... Or go to central Europe for your definite Cresteds.

How brains and birds become mutually exclusive