Working for birds in Africa

Type locality, habitat, behaviour, voice, nest and eggs of the Sidamo Lark Heteromirafra sidamoensis

p 180-190

Summary. The type locality of the Sidamo Lark Heteromirafra sidamoensis was given as 2 km south of Negele, south-east Ethiopia, but the species has never been found there since, only on the Liben Plain, which starts c.10 km east of Negele; we now confirm that the type locality is in fact at the north-westernmost edge of the Liben Plain. The lark's habitat today consists of relatively short grassland, but evidence from earlier decades suggests that areas of longer grass may have been important. With its long legs, rather long thin neck and relatively feeble rectrices, the species is largely terrestrial and appears to be poorly adapted for long-distance aerial dispersal. The song, a jingling, chirping, continuous whistling, undulating in pitch, is delivered in a short (mean c.20 seconds) low (5-15 m) hovering display-flight that may stimulate neighbours to do the same; a soft twi-twi-twi call (up to nine notes) may be an alarm. In June 2007 three brown flecked whitish eggs were found in a feebly roofed grass-woven nest under a small Solatium tettense shrub, and an adult specimen was caught, sampled and released. In June 2008 overgrazing, scrub invasion and agricultural expansion were found to be threatening the Sidamo Lark with imminent extinction.

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