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Lark, Melodious

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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Johan van Rensburg
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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.
676 Latest lifers: Short-clawed lark, Caspian plover, Western marsh harrier, Rüppell's vulture, Spotted crake

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