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Lark, Melodious

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Johan van Rensburg
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Award: Birder of the Year (2014)
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Awards: Birder of the Year (2014) & Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Location: Jam Street

Lark, Melodious

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:33 am

This near-endemic bird took me a long time to locate. The Melodious lark, Mirafra cheniana, is easily overlooked when not busy with its grand display flight that it only performs during summer. Having eventually located a field near Verena that holds a few pairs one finds them hovering almost right overhead, calling; mimicking everything in the area. Because I suffer from NIHL, I cannot distinguish what they mimic, but Roberts VII lists 22 bird families in their repertoire! No wonder this mimicking habit earned them the Afrikaans name of Spotlewerik! (Mimicking lark)

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It took quite a bit of running around through the field to get some decent shots of the bird in its display flight. Sometimes they fly up to 50+ metres high in which case you are wasting time to try and get shots... Other times they give one a treat by hovering quite low... Then the camera refuses to focus! One out of twenty shots turns out OK... :slap:

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They are listed as near-threatened due to agricultural transformation and heavy grazing pressure on the remainder of the grasslands they prefer.
671 Latest lifer: Black coucal

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